Bulb Archived: Telpochcalli Parent Class SCALE 2016-2017: Espinosa & Mueller

Teacher: Fall Semester: Xochitl Espinosa, Spring Semester: Jackie G

Artist: Jessica Mueller

School: Telpochcalli

Big Idea: Democratic planning process

Inquiry Question: How can giving parents more voice in the class planning process impact the work that is done?

Fall/Winter

Art Content:

Non-Art Content:

Describe how the project unfolded. (What were the class learning goals, what were your teaching or artistic explorations, what were your students’ explorations, student reactions, any changes in plans, what worked well and what didn’t work well, unexpected outcomes, how your future project planning was impacted, etc.)

The previous year we spent so much time on each project. This year Xochitl and I were intentional in planning for shorter or faster projects. Parents were invited to contribute to planning the class from the beginning. In the beginning this was very fruitful. Parents seemed more invested in coming to class and even bringing some of the materials. One parent even brought her daughter (just graduated high school) to join the class. Parents were bringing their projects home to work on or coming in when class was not in session. Romona Sonia, would make containers full of the paper mache glue we needed in her home with her grandchildren and bring it to class the next day to share with the group. When I think of these moments I see the positive sides to how this class was working well.

Some of the challenges were at times, having too many people working on different projects, conversations being too loosely structured (in previous years our conversations or at least our questions that guided the conversations were more linked to our goals and helped deepen the work), and over time attendance was dropping. Parents were often taking ownership over the projects that the wanted to work on, the challenge with this is that the class was becoming more of a crafting class geared towards holiday projects. I struggled to find a balance with honoring that while also making substantive work.

Having parents take a more active role in promoting the program and recruiting more parents was a new goal for this year. I believe we got 2-3 new students this way, though only 1 of those parents remained by the end.

I created a closed FB group so that the parents from George Washington and Telpo could share more and stay in touch with what the other class was doing on a regular basis. Only a few of the parents at Telpo are active on social media so it was not as inclusive as I hoped it would be.

Do you think that students made progress toward the learning goals that were set for this semester? Please estimate the percentage of students who made progress toward the learning goals. Please explain the basis of your assessment.

I’m not exactly sure how to answer this for our parents. I would say that a majority (75%) of the parents took ownership over their projects and saw them through to completion.

Most parents (75%) contributed to the direction of the class by finding/sharing various projects that they wanted to work on.

Please upload photos and/or videos of student work or classroom artifacts that demonstrate student learning and/or provide evidence that learning goals were or were not achieved. Describe how the artifacts, images or videos illustrate students achieving, partially achieving, or not achieving the learning goals.

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Ramona Sonia building up layers on one of various piñatas that she made.
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After Ramona brought in “catrina” dolls that she was working on at home, some  paper mache and some sewn, Maria was reminded of the dolls that her mother made for her when she was a child. She brought them to class to share with the rest of us.
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After throwing a baby shower for Xochilt, I gave Ramona a ride home. She made tons of food for the fiesta and had a lot to carry home. Her grandaughter printed the “comadres en el arte” poster at the event last year. She made her grandmother save it and hang it on their art wall. She also had the curtains she block printed last year hanging in her kitchen.
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Lupe working on her “catrina” that was later shown at a TCEP fundraiser. Lupe’s daughter, who was a student in the class, suggested making Catrinas in the beginning of the program. This was our first project.

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

In the beginning of the year we addressed the challenges we were having with each other as teaching partners. We made a concentrated effort to clearly define our roles and who was responsible for what. I believe this helped us have a smoother 1st semester. Finding time for planning was always tricky. Xochitl would send reminders to the parents the night before class or the morning of. This was always very helpful.

Describe how you and your partner planned together. How did you compromise when there were conflicts or differences of approaches or ideas? Can you cite a specific example?

We discussed ways to merge what the parents wanted to work on with what our goals for the class were and ways to drive our conversations. Ultimately, many of those plans were never enacted. Coordinating planning time was difficult. 

Describe how you teach together in the classroom. Who does what? How do you understand each other’s roles? Can you cite a specific example?

Xochitl was mostly leading or guiding the conversations and at times helped parents problem solve with their art work. I would lead the art making and add to conversations. I’d also make sure we had all of the supplies needed.

Winter/Spring

Art Content:

Non-Art Content:

Describe how the project unfolded. (What were the class learning goals, what were your teaching or artistic explorations, what were your students’ explorations, student reactions, any changes in plans, what worked well and what didn’t work well, unexpected outcomes, how your future project planning was impacted, etc.)

This semester brought a lot of change to our class. Jackie joined as the new parent leader-teacher and the class was made up of mostly new parents. Parents showed much interest in painting as a form of therapy. We originally asked parents to consider their feelings surrounding immigration, especially given the election of Trump and create cut and paste collages that served as the foundation for their paintings. We discussed the significance images contain and how to incorporate design elements such as movement, repetition, pattern, and color.

Do you think that students made progress toward the learning goals that were set for this semester? Please estimate the percentage of students who made progress toward the learning goals. Please explain the basis of your assessment.

75% of parents took ownership over their projects by dedicating extra time to ensure the completion of their painting. All materials were accessible to parents during non class time. Parents spent a considerable amount of time outside of class working on their painting. I believe this is a result of 1. our designated class time does not always work with parents’ busy schedules 2.parents enjoy the painting process and wanted additional time to work.

Please upload photos and/or videos of student work or classroom artifacts that demonstrate student learning and/or provide evidence that learning goals were or were not achieved. Describe how the artifacts, images or videos illustrate students achieving, partially achieving, or not achieving the learning goals.

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Juana was new to our class. She had suffered an incredible personal tragedy. Our class was her first outlet. Juana was interested in painting flowers dedicated to her son.
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Parents worked on collages to help them think through their emotions regarding immigration. This was the foundation for their paintings. See below:
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Maru working on her second of three paintings she completed during this term! She was only required to do one. Maru rarely missed a day of class and ofter comes in extra days to work on her paintings with her two year old son. I have seen Maru grow in her technical ability as well as her confidence and ability to talk about her work.

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

Our teacher/artist collaboration worked well considering we just began working together and getting to know each other as teaching partners. As an active parent leader and employee of TCEP, Jackie was able to communicate regularly with parents for recruitment purposes, regular reminders, and help with projects/supplies during non class time. This was incredibly important to our parents’/students’ access and success during the semester.

Describe how you and your partner planned together. How did you compromise when there were conflicts or differences of approaches or ideas? Can you cite a specific example?

Our partnership is brand new (as of mid-Feb.), so our goals were directed at getting to know each others’ teaching styles and interests. During our first one-on-one professional development meeting with CAPE, we were pushed to think outside of the box when planning our class. When it came time to hold the class, I do believe we fell back into our comfort zone of traditional painting. As I think about next year, if painting is still what they are most interested in, I am interested in presenting the class with alternative ways of thinking about and working with paint.

Describe how you teach together in the classroom. Who does what? How do you understand each other’s roles? Can you cite a specific example?

I organize the budget and buy supplies and food/coffee for the class. Jackie is always early! She gets our room ready. We have an art cart full of supplies that she brings to the next room where we hold class. When I arrive, Jackie and usually one or two of the parents are already started painting. Because Jackie is an essential member of TCEP, she sometimes is participating in or helping with other meetings that TCEP is hosting. While parents are painting I am more “hands off” and Jackie is more “hands on”. Jackie is not afraid to jump in and help parents mix colors, blend, draw, or render their paintings. I like to give demonstrations or examples then see what the parents come up with. We have a nice balance of these two approaches.