Bulb Archived: Telpochcalli SCALE 2016-2017: Nava-Ortiz & Mueller

Teacher:  Maria Nava-Ortiz

Artist:  Jessica Mueller

School:  Telpochcalli Elementary

Big Idea:  Students will have a deeper understanding of Social Justice related vocabulary.

Inquiry Question:  How can students use various art techniques to obtain a deeper understanding of human rights and how it impacts their daily life?

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.)

As a team we first envisioned a class that would be tied or closely work with parents of the students we were going to have, thinking that some would be working with Jessica in the parent CAPE classes held during the day.  Our goal would be focused on social justice issues such as assisting students and parents to advocate for themselves (thinking from a special needs student/family and assist in helping to voice their needs when it came to home/school/community/world).  

We wanted to involve a Language Arts component to our Art.  Our art component was going to be based on developing a super hero/heroine that would demonstrate the basic understanding of human rights/self advocacy.  We began by selecting, what we viewed as key words that might assist students gain a deeper understanding of concept.  We selected words such as diversity, acceptance, opportunity, peace, joy, tolerance, inalienable rights, etc.

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Using their notebooks, Students researched meaning of words, reflected upon the meaning and we discussed the meaning/reflections of words as a class.  Independently and based on their understanding of their word in relationship to advocacy/human rights, students created  a symbol for their word and sketched the symbol as a form of a draft. We discussed possible meanings of different colors and that students should consider color choice as an important part of their design. After students finalized their image they transferred it on to burlap with pencil and using various colors of yarn they recreated their symbols. They responded very well to this tactile material choice. We have adapted future components of our project to incorporate materials that will engage all of their senses. 

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 Jan Paul responding to his classmate, Julian’s, artwork. Each student wrote about 2 of their classmates work. This is included in their portfolios.

At the moment students are in the process of developing their super here/heroine by developing their traits (female/male, height, weight, powers/abilities, human/cyborg/alien, etc).

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 believe students have obtained a deeper understanding of concept.  I believe a 80% of our students do have the full understanding of concept and are able to relate it to their personal life experiences. 

On several occasions, several students have been able to clearly relate their word/words to current issues such as the Presidential election, the idea of being deported or having to leave the country due to their parents legal status, being a recent immigrant and not knowing the language and having the right to come to school to learn are only a few that have either been discussed one-on-one, small group or whole group level.

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.
Becca presenting her symbol to the class. She is reading what she wrote about her experience learning more about her word (freedom) and how working on this project helped give her a deeper understanding of her word.

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Tony working diligently on his symbol that represents joy.
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Genesis working on an earlier project were students created books about themselves.
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Students working on an earlier project, making sugar skulls.
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Genesis and Becca interviewing each other for their book project.
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Theo presenting his symbol to the class. His work is diversity.

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

Amazingly and plaseantly supportive, flexible and patient with total professionalism from the part of the artist in residence.  I think our hardest obstacle has been the ability to find the time to plan. 

Agreed! Maria has been wonderful to work with. I have much to learn from her and have enjoyed our process and co-teaching. Planning time has been an obstacle.

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?

Please insert your response here. You may add text, photo or video.

Yikes…..JESS….YOU ARE ON!  I REALLY DON’T RECALL HAVING A HUGE ISSUE OR CONFLICTS WITH OUT APPROACHES?  I think our biggest compromise has been discipline?  I am more of a stickler to having students behave in a certain manner (coming from an old school perspective, lol).  Anything else I have missed? Yes, behavior and how to deal with it has been something we continuously have to check in about and make sure we are on the same page.

The only other thing I can think of is Maria is always encouraging me/requiring me (haha!) to be super specific with our plans for the students. This is very helpful with our group because it is incredibly easy to go off task…. way off task!

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 think we are both equally in tune with each other and now more so with each other’s style?  (I THINK JESSIE) When we plan we try to visualize our end product and work backwards by thinking of every step needed to meet goal.  We think about each and every student we have and how those steps will be influenced.  We strategize and try to have a plan A and B to ensure not only success but engagement by all of our students.  We both seem to follow up on issues that may arise, such as when it comes to discipline with certain students, materials or activities use, etc.  When it comes to the art portion, I do tend to have Ms. Jessica take the lead at the beginning of the art project, only because I feel she is the expert in this area.  I tend to follow for a while until I feel I have a grasp on what the end project might look like or what the expectations are and then will I take the lead, sort of.  I review students work and have them run it by Ms. Jessica to ensure that we both are on same page.  For anything else, I believe (PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG JESSICA) that we are in tune when it comes to presenting lessons, activities, etc.

Winter/Spring

Art Content: Construction of cardboard/superhero city from recycled materials, paint, tape, glitter, and other miscellaneous supplies. Digital animation of characters using iPad animation software. 

Non-Art Content: Students developed character traits and narratives for their social justice superheroes. Students worked on story structure, sequencing, spelling and grammar. 

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.)

Students spent the entire semester developing their characters visually as well as their narratives. They explored digital animation. This was new to the students and Ms. Nava and I. Students designed their own figures, then through a process of  trial and error, those figures were transferred to the Crayola/iPad software, where students added movement, backgrounds, and sound. We were all learning together. Many times our students took the lead and were teaching each other how to manipulate the animation mannequin and software, discovering tricks and options we did not know were possible. Access to the iPads was difficult at times and securing the kids’ files on the iPads was also an issue. We were constantly making adjustments to this part of the project and in the end were not able to include it in our final piece. This is something we would need to rethink if we were to do it again.

We also explored analog art making. Students (and teachers!) collected recycled materials to be used to build a city for our superheroes to exist in. They were given the parameters that their individual contributions would be all put together to make one city and that it must be 2’x2′ on  the ground and as tall as each of them are. Once students had their designs and the construction of their buildings underway, parents were invited for an extended class (4 hours) to eat, share, and help construct their city.

For the writing portion of the project, Ms. Nava would work with small groups of students and at times one on one. Ms. Nava adjusted her teaching to the specific needs of the child due to the wide age range and learning needs of our class.

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.

Students made progress towards their learning goals. I estimate that 70% have a better understanding of what social justice is, what their assigned social rights word means, and how they can better use it in the real world. I’m basing this on the use of the terms and meanings in their journal writing.

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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Students presented their stories in progress.
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Parents were invited for an extended class period to work with their children on the construction of their city. This was an opportunity for Ms. Nava and to connect with parents and observe how they work with their children. 
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Student’s created comic style story boards of their narratives. 
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Students wrote several drafts of their stories.
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We combined all of the students social justice symbols to create a t-shirt and poster design for the class. Students learned the basics of screen printing.

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

Working together has been very fruitful. I have learned quite a bit from Ms. Nava, especially in regards to methods for working with varying learning differences and age levels with writing and visual arts. 

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?

Compromising was fairly easy. We listened to one another and respected each of our areas of expertise. If I had an idea that Ms. Nava thought could be improved or maybe wouldn’t  work in our class, she would let me know and we made the appropriate adjustments or continued brainstorming. This worked both ways. We struck a good balance of planning and still being flexible while teaching.

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 managed our budget and supplies, making purchases when necessary. Ms. Nava handled the many, many materials that were stored in her classroom. She also handled communication with teachers at the school and our fellow SCALE teachers when it came to planning a field trip or sharing event.  When in the classroom we bounced really well off of each other, both of us alternating between leading and working one on one with students. Ms. Nava usually took the lead on behavior issues as they arose in the classroom.

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One of our students leading Ms. Nava in screen printing her t-shirt.
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This is the complete superhero city on display on the 2nd floor of Telpochcalli, just outside of Ms. Nava’s classroom. Students shared their work with their peers, parents, and other teachers at the school.