Bulb Archived: Telpochcalli SCALE 2016-2017: Werner & Perez

Due January 27th:

Teacher: Mary Beth Werner

Artist: Juan-Carlos Perez

School: Telpochcalli Elementary School

Big Idea: Inclusion vs. Exclusion

Inquiry Question:

Fall/Winter

Art Content: Collage, Figure creation, Drawing,  3D Representations, Landscapes, Portraits, 

Non-Art Content: Immigration, US Symbols, Habitats

Describe how the project unfolded. 

Our project initially was built around the idea: Inclusion vs. Exclusion.  We began prior to the election and the children had a lot of fears & worries about how people felt about them and their parents.  

 When students came back from summer vacation they were beginning to show concern over what was happening in the political climate. La Maestra Marybeth & myself knew we had to figure out a way to address the change that was happening in our students. The majority of Telpochcalli students are of Mexican/Latin America and live in low-income communities which lack economic resources. Our students’ families do not frequent out of their communities as much. Much of their exposure to the outside world is what they see on television. So seeing individuals in the political arena target them in a negative light and watching half of the country support hatred aimed at their communities were having a dramatic effect on them. Our classroom range from the ages of 5-8 years of age. We felt it was too early in their life, for them to be targeted in such a negative way and be discriminated against for who they are.

La Maestra MaryBeth and I were concerned about the traumatic effect this type of racism could have on them. A child should not have to endure this type of hatred in the early stages of their educational development.

Because of how small they were we knew we just could not just jump right into the issue of immigration. We had to be very careful in our approach. 

First Investigation

Our first investigation was to create landscapes made of different shapes that the students created. Because students tend to fall into the trap of just drawing hearts, stars, cloud (circles, triangles, squares, etc), we came up with a simple strategy for students to create their own individual shapes.

 Students learned about geometric shapes and the different types of angles, vertical , horizontal or diagonal lines that are used to make them. They then looked over what is an organic shape. Each student then created an organic and geometric shape. Then they put them together (overlap) and traced around/outlined them thus creating and entirely new shape made out of an organic & geometric shape combined. Their own individual shape. 

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Student creating her new shape. Note: Students created an organic and geometric shape that they combined to create a totally original unique shape.

We then introduced students to different types of landscapes from around the country. Students were then asked to create a landscape using the shape they had created. They could use drawing/design techniques such as: repetition, overlap, patterns (etc) to create their landscape.

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Student creating a landscape using a shape they invented themselves. 
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Students were allowed to personalize their landscapes.

Students were then told that a new shape/organism was going to be introduced to the landscape they each worked so hard to create. This shape did not look anything like theirs. Students were asked:

What kind of questions do you have about this visitor coming into your environment?

What differences did they have besides the way they looked?

Could there be any similarities?

Can they co-exist due to their differences?

Students explored questions such as:

Are they friendly or hostile?

Where do they come from?

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Students then shared (with one another) the narrative they created of the landscape with the new visitor.

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Our students then paired up, invented a shape together and joined forces to create a bottom of the ocean coral landscape. The mural was made with oil pastels.

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Students collaborate in creating a large shape together that would be used to create a large mural of a coral reef.

Second Investigation:

By the time they got to their second part of their investigation students were coming to class pretty upset due to the political climate. There were common instances where students would arrive to school upset and had outburst through-out the day. This was a few weeks to election day and these outbursts & anxiety attacks were starting to happen more and more often. The fear, worry and outbursts were continuing into our after school program. Our students were saying how they were scared for their families. Questioned why the United States hates them and why people were out to get them. Some students were beginning to express anger and rage.

Continuing with our big idea of Inclusion vs. Exclusion, we continued to tie it too landscapes. This time we looked at different American landscapes/treasures. Students looked at images of the skyline of Chicago, Grand Canyon, Moab Utah, etc. We then looked at American treasures such as: Mount Rushmore and the Lincoln Memorial until we eventually landed at the Statue of Liberty. Students read a book about the significance of the Statue of Liberty and it’s importance to this great nation. 

Then we went into a deep discussion about the meaning and significance of what liberty and freedom meant. Students were asked:

What does the Statue of Liberty stand for?

Why do Americans have such a deep connection to it?

What does the word immigrant mean?

Who is an immigrant?

Do know you know someone who is an immigrant?

Are immigrants good or bad people?

Do immigrants have rights?

Does the Statue of Liberty represent immigrants in America?

Students created a mural out of bright colored tissue paper and acrylic paint. The mural depicts a transferred image of the Statue of Liberty that students collaged with bright colored tissue paper and acrylic paint. Students then embellished the mural with vocabulary words they came up with that symbolize the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. 

Our students titled their mural “LA PROMESA DE LIBERTAD/LIBERTY’S PROMISE”

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Students projected and outlined an image of the Statue of Liberty in the beginning phase of creating their mural.
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Students learned about the art of collage and using acrylic paint. Students used small & small paint brushes. Some students took a more informal approach to painting and created their own methods/techniques in order to create their desired visual effect. Students created 3 large murals in total.

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 learning goals of this projects was to promote acceptance of others for their differences and too look at our past American history and understand the very morals & ethics this country’s  origins were founded on. And how this country was created as a place where different types of individuals, from different cultures or religions (etc)  can co-exist and move forward together. 

 We wanted students to channel, through the use of art, a way to address what was going on in their environment outside of school. We wanted them to have an art making experience that created a safe place, a sanctuary where their questions and frustrations could be heard with out judgement.

The beginning exercises were subtle and we approached the big idea through a different perspective. We felt that having students work hard at creating an authentic original landscape then introducing an outside visitor (or shape) would get them to begin to think about how we perceive someone that is different. You work really hard to create something then all of a sudden something different enters that space and everything is turned upside down. 

 This was very hard. We didn’t have a title for our “Big Idea” at first. Everyone else did. And instructors would ask us, “what’s your big idea?” and we didn’t know how to respond.

We knew we wanted to address what was going on with our kids. We only knew the lessons were going to revolve around the concepts that dealt with division, exclusion, prejudice, acceptance, who is an American? Who is not? etc. But we didn’t have the right words yet to come up with a catchy title/big idea. 

We knew that we just had to jump right in and trust that along the way our exploration and maneuvering through the art content that a vocabulary would be created from where the right words would reveal themselves to describe our “Big Idea”.                           

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.

Yes, we believe ALL of our students (100%) made major progress in learning their goals with coming to an understanding the concept & meaning between Inclusion vs. Exclusion. In the beginning our students couldn’t even process what was happening around them. They did not understand why individuals on television were pointing them out as bad people and why a lot of Americans agreed with them. This project helped them by revealing a bit of history on the reasons why this country built in the first place. And how the basis of American origins rooted itself on accepting everyone as equal. It gave them a sanctuary space where questions could be asked freely.  In the beginning, our students were in fear and felt frustrated. Some were beginning to get angry. By the end of the project we learned that our students just want to be accepted. They know that they are very talented individuals and have many special skills/qualities they can contribute to society. 

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Truth, Liberty and Welcome are just a few of the words added to “LA PROMESA DE LIBERTAD?LIBERTY”S PROMISE” mural. The words were from a set of of vocabulary words students came up to describe this American treasure.
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A student hangs the mural after-school.
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The mural is located in the hallway for the rest of the school body to view.

LA PROMESA DE LIBERTAD CONTINUES . . . THE EXTENSION

PART II

Our students had many opinions as to what the meaning of liberty meant to them. As a result of this project students invited their parents to participate. Parents and families from Telpochcalli school gathered after-school to write down and create posters about what liberty meant to them. 

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Student poses with her mother with a sign they created together.
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Families come together after-school hours to participate in expressing their feelings about what the word “Liberty” means to them. 
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Even 8th graders got involved and created posters about what liberty means to them and posed (with them) in front of the “La Promesa de Libertad/Liberty’s Promise” paintings.

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Students teaching other classes in their school the same art exercises that helped them understand issues revolving around immigration.
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Our students lead & teach another 2nd grade class the Inclusive vs. Exclusion lesson plan on the topic of IMMIGRATION.

Our students decided that the same art exercises that helped them approach the topic of immigration and explore these concepts of Inclusion vs. Exclusion could be taught to other classrooms in their school community.

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Showcasing student artwork on immigration & Social Media Campaign Launch Party at The Jane Addams Hull House.

Word got around and hundreds of people wanted to join-in, in expressing what liberty meant to them. Students realized that there were probably other students & families at other schools that most likely felt the same way they did. This led our students to launch a social media campaign at The Jane Addams Hull House to promote solidarity. 

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Liberty’s Promise art exercises about our Big Idea: Inclusion vs. Exclusion were turned into art lesson plans and their artwork were made into posters. They are currently being distributed as part of the social media campaign #lapromesadelibertad, #libertyspromise, so that other classrooms, communities (etc) around the chicago area can have a dialogue with their students or community about the issues of immigrations grappling our communities today.

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Father and his children at RIIS Park in the Belmont-Craigen Neighborhood writes down what “Liberty” means to him and his family. Maestro Juan-Carlos talks and teaches Telpochcalli Immigration lesson plan to the Belmont-Craigen Community on Earth Day.
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Maestro Juan-Carlos presents Telpochcalli student Inclusion vs. Exclusion art lesson plan to parent community Daley Elementary school in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
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Parent community in the Back of the Yards neighborhood doing the very same art lessons, Inclusion vs Exclusion to open up a dialogue about immigration.
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Back of the Yard neighborhood community did the 2 part lesson plan-Inclusion Vs. Exclusion. They also created their own Promesa De Libertad/Libert’s Promise artwork that is currently being displayed at Daley School in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
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Translation:  “Liberty: means freedom ,families united. Liberty: means to not be afraid of going outside, for a walk in our very own streets. (liberty means to) Go to work with out fear of being apprehended and deported by our very own government. Feedom: Liberty: means PEACE.

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.

See images below.

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Our Students went through a metamorphosis. They went from being scared and angry to getting a better idea of how the majority of Americans and the world just want equality. This project was very hands-on, tactile and process oriented. It gave them an opportunity to feel their way through the art. Along with an open discussion of what is the real America. All they ask is to be accepted and loved. Their future is here. 

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

Our collaboration worked out very well. We were both on the same page when we had our first planning meeting in the early Fall. After discussing our goals (for our class) we were surprised to learn that we were both talking about the same idea that later we were able to describe as Inclusion vs. Exclusion.

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?

When we plan, we do a lot of talking. We listen to each other. There is no judgement. We just share and explore each others ideas freely. We then begin to find a correlation and take it from there. This fall, we were on the same page and that made it very easy to move forward and work on the hard part, how to approach this intense concept. We do not really have conflicts. The only time there is a difference of opinion is when and where (or how) we introduce a certain part of the lesson to address where students are at in the learning stages of the project. 

For example, sometimes images or visuals work really well in getting students to learn the content. Sometimes one of us will say how about a hands-on experience so that the interaction gets them to understand the content. Or sometimes the intimate setting of reading a book together can set the pace as to how approach a sensitive issue/topic. In the case of this project and the intensity of ALL OF THE ABOVE strategies were used.

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?

 Our roles interchange throughout the 2 hours  time slot that we have. We lead at different times or co-teach at the same time. Sometimes certain roles like in the learning of a new art material fall to Juan-Carlos & sometimes certain roles that require different teaching strategy approaches fall to Mary Beth. We are both very hands-on so we take on each others role. 

There have been times when we have the lesson for the day all planned out. For example: Mary Beth introduces images then Mr. Juan-Carlos introduces inquiry questions. Then we both introduce the art activity/lesson. And then all of a sudden, through out the lesson,  one of us might make an observation and say to the other “I think we need to gather at the rug and read a book on the topic so that they really get the content in which this lesson is based on. 

Our roles are constantly changing and we are always open to one another making suggestions. I think we have developed a sense of trust & respect for one another. So when that moment that one of us suggests that we might need to take a slightly different course out of our route, we have confidence that it could lead us into an exciting, uncharted learning experience. 

Both of us are pretty relaxed in our style and are open to some fluidity.  We believe that the exchange of ideas and openness also provides some good modeling for students. They see us negotiate, question each other, and work together in a way that I don’t think that most children get to see.  Often children are expected to work together but they aren’t given too many opportunities to see how it is done.

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Participants with their own messages supporting diversity and immigration.

Due May 31st:

Winter/Spring

Art Content: 3-d sculptures, mobile making, decorating techniques, mask making

Non-Art Content: balance, 

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.)

Please type your response here. You can also include video and/ or images.

2nd project: Part 1

Since our students had just gone through a pretty intense, serious but positive experience in tackling the issues of immigrations and extending their artwork to the rest of the Chicago community, we felt it was time to celebrate the environment that creates such awesome, explorative forms of artistic investigation: TELPOCHCALLI!!!

Students looked at what makes their school such a special place for personal, creative & academic growth. Students felt that the teachers (supported by their amazing principal, Tamara) were the reason why their school has been able to sustain and flourish in the Little Village community. Students created pinatas to celebrate the many teachers and subject they teach at their school such as: math, reading & writing, gym & art (just to name a few). Students researched many ways pinatas are made in different parts of Mexico.

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Academic content of reading & writing being celebrated on one of the student’s pinatas.
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Students created to sided pinatas. One side of their pinatas showed the academic subject celebrated and on the other side they showed of their pinata art making practice.

2nd project: Part 2

Since students were studying -BALANCE- in science during normal school hours so we decided to culminate our pinatas with the topic of balance and create a mobils to showcase them. 

Students studied and researched artist Alexander Caulder. They learned and discussed how he made art. Students were fascinated by his sculptures and Mobils. Students brainstormed many ideas of what the mobil should look like. They felt that it needed to represent the school community. Students decided  that the Aztec symbol for “home” would be the perfect design for their mobil (it is also their school logo 😉 Students helped in creating, balancing their artwork (pinatas) onto their mobil. They also painted it. It is currently hangins in the school hallway for the rest of the school community to enjoy! 

(3rd project??? look at the bottom of page)

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3rd Project: Mask Making

Now that student had just finished focusing on celebrating their school TELPOCHCALLI we decided to turn the celebration on themselves. Students created masks of their own faces using plaster gauze. They learned every step needed to create their plaster gauze masks. Our students worked in teams to help one another get their masks done in a prompt but timely manner. 

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Students worked in teams when making their plaster gauze masks. In this pic: Citlali learns the importance of how much vaseline to use. . . .ALOT!!

Students learned about patterns and how to work with paint. Students explored different ways of decorating their masks. One such example was using colored sand. Our students looked at how different groups of people create art using sand, such as: Native Americans & Tibetan Monks. 

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Students were very impressed with Tibetan monk’s Mandalas.

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.

Please type your response here. You can also include video and/ or images.

We rate our student percentile that made progress was 100%. Everyone was involved in the entire process of every project. Everyone participated in the creation of the artworks. We always took time to brainstorm and discuss what it was that were going to do next. La Maestra MaryBeth and Maestro Juan-Carlos let the students decide what the 2nd semester part of our projects were going to be. It was all based from student dialogue.

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Maestra MaryBeth sporting Eileens mask.

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.

Please type your response here. You can also include video and/ or images.

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Noah working on his pinata. Students practiced many ways to embellish their pinatas using tissue paper.
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Students decided on the Aztec symbol Calli (home) to represent their school (it is also their school logo)
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Students learned the importance of how much vaseline to use when making plaster masks. Students worked in teams to get their masks done in plaster. They payed close attention to every step of working with plaster gauze.
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Why gesso is so important prior to painting. Student applying a primer base before painting his mask.
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Students studied patterns and drew the designs and created a color composition as a guide to help them paint their masks.

How did your teacher/artist collaboration work this semester?

Please type your response here. You can also include video and/ or images.

Our collaboration worked out very well. We were both on the same page when it came to letting our students decide where they wanted their arts investigation to go. By the time second semester came our students had attained quite a bit of experience working with a variety of art materials. We knew this experience was going to push both of us to try and match their challenge. It was nice to see that this lead to some pretty genuine creative art making.

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 type your response here. You can also include video and/ or images.

When we plan, we do a lot of talking. We listen to each other. There is no judgement. We just share and explore each others ideas freely. We then begin to find a correlation and take it from there. This year, we were on the same page and that made it very easy to move forward. We do not really have conflicts. The only time there is a difference of opinion is when and where (or how) we introduce a certain part of the lesson to address where students are at in the learning stages of the project.

For example, sometimes images or visuals work really well in getting students to learn the content. Sometimes one of us will say how about a hands-on experience so that the interaction gets them to understand the content. Or sometimes the intimate setting of MEDITATING or DANCING together can set the pace as to how approach a sensitive issue/topic. In the case of this project and the intensity of ALL OF THE ABOVE strategies were used.

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?

 Our roles interchange throughout the 2 hours time slot that we have. We lead at different times or co-teach at the same time. Sometimes certain roles like in the learning of a new art material fall to Juan-Carlos & sometimes certain roles that require different teaching strategy approaches fall to Mary Beth. We are both very hands-on so we take on each others role.

There have been times when we have the lesson for the day all planned out. For example: Mary Beth introduces images then Mr. Juan-Carlos introduces inquiry questions. Then we both introduce the art activity/lesson. And then all of a sudden, through out the lesson, one of us might make an observation and say to the other “I think we need to gather at the rug and read a book on the topic so that they really get the content in which this lesson is based on.

Our roles are constantly changing and we are always open to one another making suggestions. I think we have developed a sense of trust & respect for one another. So when that moment that one of us suggests that we might need to take a slightly different course out of our route, we have confidence that it could lead us into an exciting, uncharted learning experience.

Both of us are pretty relaxed in our style and are open to some fluidity. We believe that the exchange of ideas and openness also provides some good modeling for students. They see us negotiate, question each other, and work together in a way that I don’t think that most children get to see. Often children are expected to work together but they aren’t given too many opportunities to see how it is done.

HOLD ON . . . .

This year started off rough. Our students took on a deep troubling issue plaguing our communities especially our families. It was very intense, scary and very over whelming at times (it still is). These children are at the very beginning of learning (our students range from 5-7 years old) and have been catapulted into the eye of this American storm. They are doing their best trying to understand the ugliness of this world and how it directly impact them. And so we must listen. 

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. . . AND SO WE DID. THEY ASKED FOR A SPA DAY.