“Take Root Among the Stars” A Speculative Curriculum Unit for Fifth Grade

Author: Vanetta Wood

School/Organization:

Henry C. Lea Elementary School

Year: 2020

Seminar: The Dark Fantastic: Reading Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comics to Change the World

Grade Level: 5

Keywords: creative arts

School Subject(s): Language Arts, Arts

“Take Root Among the Stars” is a speculative curriculum unit intended for fifth grade students. I created this unit while participating in the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP) Seminar program. My specific seminar, The Dark Fantastic: Reading Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comics to Change the World was facilitated by professor, Dr. Ebony Thomas. This unit was created under her guidance.

The unit speculates on the impact of developing self awareness, cultural awareness, self respect and respect for others in children on the cusp of middle school. Through creative writing, visual art, modeling, class discussion, and student based inquiry and discovery, I believe students can explore their interests, identify their goals, discover their passion, and embark on the path of self-discovery, greater self-awareness, and fulfillment. I wholeheartedly believe that people who possess more self-awareness and knowledge of their goals are more purposeful in their daily routines, tasks, and interactions. To that end, I have designed five lessons that are intended to foster positivity, a sense of community in our art studio, a sense of self in each student artist, and a sense of hope for whatever future they endeavor to pursue.

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Full Unit Text
Conrtent Objectives / Teaching Objectives

Based on my experiences, many elementary aged children who attend public school are at greater risk than their suburban counterparts of losing themselves before they have an opportunity to discover who they are. Throughout the ages children have encountered and learned to endure some form of bullying, peer pressure, and familial struggle as they moved through life and matured into adulthood. However, children who are living in the 21st century are also impacted by the pervasive and persuasive influences of this great technological age. Therefore, the 21st century child being reared in an urban setting is more likely to face the same challenges we have all faced, while also having to discern the messages of technology and social media, in addition to a barrage of negative environmental factors. Life in the inner city is simply different than life in suburban areas. This was all painfully evident to me when I made the decision to pursue a career in visual arts education in 2010. I was thirty years old. Endeavoring to build a career in education of 21st century children in the inner city was not a decision I made lightly, but more, one I made with an open heart and a desire to have a positive role in the future of my community and our world.

 

As I began training to become a teacher I had one consistent concern, classroom management. I knew how to make art and I knew that making art had been my salvation. I believed that art could save my future students in the same way it had saved me. I believed, all they needed was exposure to the arts and an opportunity to experiment and discover. As I began teaching it was evident that my concerns about classroom management were valid. Planning, organizing, and scaffolding content were my strong suit, but behavior, specifically middle school behavior, proved to be a challenge. After nearly ten years, middle school behavior remains a challenge. My middle school students often exhibit behaviors that are immature and telling of a lack of respect for themselves, their peers, the art materials, and myself. They lack the confidence they work so desperately to exude. They are extremely sensitive, but they lack sensitivity. Their lack of awareness is perhaps the most tragic part of this whole equation. This is problematic, partially because it has left me feeling disenchanted with teaching. Arts teachers have to work harder than teachers of core subjects to garner student respect. Students, sometimes parents, have a distorted perception of art and what is supposed to happen in the art room. Sometimes school districts and administrators perpetuate that distorted perception. It’s disheartening. I often remind myself of all the facts I listed earlier and I try to holdfast to the passion and promise I possessed when I first entered the profession.

 

I have decided to develop a unit for students on the cusp of middle school with the intent to elicit a greater level of interest and respect for art as they transition into sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. How will I combat daunting socio-economic factors, advancing technology, peer pressure, bullying, familial struggles, disrespect, and a distorted perception of art? Awareness, I intend to combat those things by endeavoring to develop awareness in my students; awareness of themselves, awareness of how they interact with others, awareness of their environments and how they treat them, and an awareness of how their past and present can effect their future. Awareness is the only way to combat ignorance.

 

At the beginning of my Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP) Seminar, The Dark Fantastic: Reading Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comics to Change the World, I had no idea what type of unit I wanted to create. I knew I was quickly approaching burnout with my middle school students and I hoped something in the seminar would spark an idea for how to reengage them. Similarly, I hoped the spark would be strong enough to light my way through the disenchantment I had been feeling about teaching the middle school population, and science fiction seemed like a topic that would interest middle school students. On the very first day of the seminar, Dr. Thomas read aloud an excerpt from a book. The excerpt was all about envisioning a safer world or a safe space. After reading the excerpt, Dr. Thomas asked us to consider our own notion of safety and to envision a world where we felt safe. Later, she talked about the correlation between the concept of safeness and our experiences. “What is your origin story?”, she asked us. Almost immediately I felt substantial. I felt like the me that had been shaped by my experiences mattered to Dr. Thomas, just because she asked a question that signified a concern for what makes me feel safe.

 

Before the first day of seminar I wondered how my urgency to develop student engagement and alter student behavior would be relative to the Dark Fantastic. When we began by talking about a sense of security and origin stories I was reminded of comic book characters. Many comic book characters have an interesting origin story and they endeavor to help others feel safe due to a lack of safety they felt at some point in their own lives. The first day of seminar literally lead to a string of thoughts. Origin stories made me think of comic book characters. Comic books made me think of the Black Panther film that released in 2018. Black Panther made me think of my middle school students and how influenced and inspired they had been by the film. I quickly realized, we all have an origin story, even children. No matter how obnoxious they can be, teens and pre-teens have their own origin stories. They have times in their lives when they may not feel safe or understood, and like many of the characters in comic books, they want to overcome those fears and feelings of inadequacy. Ill-equipped with the coping skills and sense of self some adults develop through life experience, children wear a shield. Their super power becomes their indifference, their insensitivity, or their disrespect.

 

As we delved deeper into the seminar, I learned that Science Fiction is a broad genre that encompasses many different subcategories. Speculative fiction was the subgenre I found most appealing. According to Masterclass.com, “speculative literature changes the laws of what’s real or possible as we know them in our current society, and then speculates on the outcome.” (MasterClass, 2019) As an early assignment, we read the foreword and introduction to the book “Octavia’s Brood”.  The writer of the foreword, Sheree Ren’ee Thomas, spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. and how his dreaming of equality was a form of speculative fiction because he was dreaming of a world that was unlike one he had ever known. (Thomas, 2015) I had spent the better part of the school year dreaming of an art studio in a public school setting where students instinctively demonstrated a respect for their peers, the materials, the subject matter, their time, and ultimately themselves. I was dreaming of something I had never known, because my experiences in public school art studios were built around managing student behavior versus teaching art. Even today, as I work through this unit, I realize teaching has become my secondary objective. Many days my primary objective is managing behaviors, whether proactively or reactively. The teaching career I am living through is nothing like the one I envisioned when I endeavored to become a visual arts teacher of elementary-aged inner city dwellers nearly ten years ago. Thus, my initial reason for become a public school teacher was speculative.

 

Later in the “Octavia’s Brood” text Walidah Imarisha wrote, “Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction. All organizing is science fiction…Because all organizing is science fiction, we are dreaming new worlds every time we think about the changes we want to make in the world.” (Imarisha, 2015) In essence my whole teaching career has been a work of speculative fiction with the dream of making it a reality. People speak about equality with regard to many things, but educational equality is a dream of mine. The Philadelphia School District’s mission states that students deserve a quality education regardless of their zip code. This statement could not be more true, but it is easier said than implemented. We all know there is inequality amongst the schools in the school district and much of that truth is largely due to zip code and the attitudes of the people residing in those zip codes. I grew up in a safe and relatively quiet neighborhood within the city of Philadelphia. I attended a Catholic school. I was always interested in art, but my small Catholic school did not have the budget to hire an art teacher. Imagine my frustration when I begin to pursue art education in high school and college only to find that I was behind the learning curve. My peers had been exposed to art education in their schools, but I had had to rely on my own practice or the lessons my father had time to offer. All children, throughout the world, should be offered the same educational opportunities. That is our duty as a society. We must level the playing field. My career in education has been devoted to the notion that all students deserve a quality arts education in order to reap all the benefits engaging in the arts has to offer.

 

Now, more than ever, this unit will function as a piece of speculative fiction. It is my dream to instill and evoke productive and respectful behaviors in my students in order to create an ideal learning environment and in order to reduce my own burn out and disenchantment. What I know, based upon my experiences, is that students who live in the inner city and attend public school are up against many odds before they even begin high school. In this unit I will be developing lessons as a form of speculating about how I can elicit the change I want to see in the public school students’ mindset in order to yield better lives for them, and a more equitable world. When creating the lessons for my unit I speculated about how my teaching experience could be different if students approached my class with an open mind, versus an idea that art means crafts and fun. I speculated about how my students’ lives could be different if I could make them see the importance of art despite it being considered a “prep” or a “special” in my school community. I speculated about how I could make art more relevant and engaging for children. In the process of hatching the unit I developed speculations about why my students are the way they are, and I surmised that student misbehavior is a result of a lack of awareness. Of course students are conscious of the things they go through, but are they aware of how those experiences have the potential to shape them? The only way to understand this is to bring more awareness to it. Students must be made aware of the impact of a life experience. They also must be aware of ways to acknowledge those experiences and cope with them. Additionally, I must be aware of the differences between the lives of students and my own. I must also be aware of practicing educational methods that do not alienate my students.

 

There are obvious differences between my students and I. I am an adult and they are children. I am in control of my physical environment, they are not in control of where they live. I have more control over how much I allow emotional stressors to effect me, many of them may not have access to those coping skills. However, there are some differences that are not so intrinsic. I was raised by my biological mother and father. Some of my students are being raised by a single parent, or a grandparent, or foster parents. I attended a Catholic elementary school, they attend a public elementary school, two very different educational settings. I did not have special subjects like art and music in school on a consistent basis, they do. I was born and raised in the 20th Century before the advent of the internet. They are growing up in the 21st Century where, even in the midst of a global pandemic, there is technology so advanced that they can log onto a device and interface with their teachers and peers daily. Without awareness of all the differences between us I could, and probably do, commit microaggressions against my students all the time. After reading the article “Ending Curriculum Violence” from tolerance.org, I became very aware of the need to routinely assess the presence of curriculum violence and microaggression in my own classroom. Although author Stephanie P. Jones focused mostly on curriculum violence with regard to racial trauma, reading the article made me aware of the fact that there are still thoughts, opinions, ideas, and ignorance I possess with regard to the student body I service, in spite of my own brownness. There are ways in which I could be subconsciously inflicting trauma on my students. To remain aware of this is paramount if I want to make my students feel as substantial as Dr. Thomas made me feel on the first day of the Dark Fantastic seminar.

 

For my unit, I have planned five lessons for 5th graders that will expose students to various artistic techniques, art related vocabulary and concepts, and visual arts media. I typically use an array of teaching strategies in my classroom, which include; modelling, student-led activities, cooperative learning, experiential learning, objective transparency, feedback, class discussion, and graphic organizers, to aid in the acquisition of vocabulary and concepts. As I give brief descriptors of each lesson I will identify the specific teaching strategies to be used.

 

In the first lesson, students will be asked to consider their own beginning by creating an origin story in the form of a poem. Students will work from a modified template of an “Where I’m From” poem in order to craft their origin story. The template I created for this lesson is a modification of the “Where I’m From” poem that was written by George Ella Lyon. In addition to writing, students will be able to use doodles, paint and coloring utensils to create an illustration that will frame their origin stories. I plan to utilize modelling, feedback, cooperative learning, and class discussion as teaching strategies to aid in the effective execution of this lesson. We will begin by using the “I do. We do. You do” method to complete the poem template. Following the development of the poem, students will be given a sheet of tracing paper and several print outs of doodle images. In this section of the lesson cooperative learning will be taking place as students explore the process of using different line characters and different pictorial symbols to create doodles that illustrate their origin stories. While working in small groups students will inevitably share their ideas, seek advice, and share the images they create and discover.

 

In keeping with the theme of self reflection and representation, students will work collaboratively to create a quilt. Quilting is a beautiful way to establish and represent community. Modelling and cooperative learning will be the most helpful strategies in teaching students to sew in this lesson. When teaching students to sew, I plan to demonstrate, in increments, with small groups of students. As students practice and learn the skill of sewing, I will identify students who demonstrate mastery of the skill to assist their peers. Students will also learn about the quilters of Gees Bend Alabama, who crafted quilts using whatever textile materials they had available. They too will be encouraged to bring in pieces of fabric from objects that are meaningful to them to sew an individual quilt square. Perhaps a student has a piece of fabric from their favorite childhood doll or a swatch from their favorite childhood sheets, if so they will be encouraged to add that material to their individual quilt square. Once each student’s quilt square has been completed, students will include their squares in a class quilt that can be displayed outside of their homeroom.

 

Artists have been making photographed self portraits for centuries, but the selfie is a futuristic concept. When I introduce the topic of portraiture to older students I am often met with instant doubt and frustration because older children are more inhibited and critical of themselves. They feel they do not posses the skill to draw or paint a person. While I feel it important that students are learning technical drawing and painting skills, I know they are reluctant to invest in a project that they feel ill-equipped to produce. In consideration of those concerns, students will be able to use a smartphone, computer, or digital camera to create a series of expressive self portraits. Students will be encouraged to show a different and distinct emotion in each of their photographs. Prior to their portrait sessions, students will learn about composition, positive, and negative space. The fifth grade students will be encouraged to consider these concepts when taking photographs or editing them for submission. There will also be discussions centered around mood and how the use of certain colors evokes mood. There is an Instagram page called Humans of New York. Humans of New York presents a pictures of people, sometimes their face, sometimes just their hands, and sometimes just their legs and feet, but there is always a story accompanying the photograph. Some time ago, Humans of New York compiled a bunch of those stories and images to create a coffee table book. I thought it would be wonderful to give students a voice to share part of their story in this way. Of course, we will not be able to post their images and stories on Instagram, but I have developed a template in the style of an Instagram post. Students will be able to select one of their images from the series, print it, and attach it to the template. Under the image the students will write a caption or story to accompany the image. Once parent permission is obtained, the students submissions will be collected, copied, printed and bound to create a book. My goal is for each student to receive a copy of the book. This lesson will offer the opportunity for inquiry guided instruction, experiential, and cooperative learning as students take risks and experiment in order to find answers to their own questions about how to honor the artistic concepts of mood and composition. I really think students should do their own exploration of self portraiture versus my modelling self portraiture for them because students will often replicate my example in the hopes of getting it “right” or doing a “good” job. However, if the goal of this whole unit is to encourage self discovery and celebrate individuality, I want to avoid the pressure of images that are supposed to look a certain way.

 

Our fourth lesson, will require students to work in a manner that is speculative, by creating a futuristic found poem. A found poem is a work that uses pre-existing text which is altered in some way. There are different processes that can be employed to create a found poem. The erasure method requires the poet to black out or obscure the parts of the text that not relevant to the poem. While there is another method where words or phrases are collected from a piece of text and then compiled to create a poem. Students will be made aware of both these methods before selecting the method they would like to use to create their own poems. Once the poem is complete, students will have an opportunity to create a full color illustration around the poem. The objective here is to encourage students to begin thinking about the future, not their own individual future, but the future of the world and society as a whole. Teaching strategies in this lesson will include feedback, class discussion, and both experiential and cooperative learning. The fifth and final lesson of the unit will require students to focus on their individual futures and set goals. Graphic organizers will be created and used to help students brainstorm about and develop their short term and long term goals. Once students have identified their goals, we will collect visual materials as a representation of those goals. Students will have the opportunity to use images from newspapers and magazines to represent the goals they identify. Students may also use one or two small three-dimensional objects to accent the two-dimensionality of their work. The same applies for texture. Students will be encouraged to add both manmade and natural materials with an array of textures in order to utilize the principles of the design; movement, rhythm, balance, pattern, and symmetry. Again, this lesson will also invite teaching strategies such as feedback, cooperative learning, and experiential learning.

 

I really would like our art classroom to function as a studio. During my undergraduate studies at The Cleveland Institute of Art and Moore College of Art & Design, I found it so refreshing to have my peers right there if I needed feedback, assistance, or inspiration. Energy is a life force that I think many of us overlook and take for granted. The raw and emotional energy you find in a creative space is often paramount in the production of creative work. The same way musical artists feed off of each others energy in a sound studio, so too do creative spirits in a visual arts studio. I have witnessed students respond to each others energy in both negative and positive ways. While, a quiet space is often cathartic, there is beauty in noise. However, I will be working to help my students understand the difference between noise for the sake of making noise versus the buzzing of focused production and creativity.

 

Although this unit is a gentle shift away from lessons that are heavy in historical artistic technique, I was still very vigilant in developing lessons and activities whose outcomes adhere to district and national standards. According to the visual art curriculum set forth by the School District of Philadelphia, students in 5th grade should be able to create drawings and paintings using a variety of media and techniques including pencil, crayon, marker, oil pastels, colored pencils, and chalk pastels. Students should understand and demonstrate the use of line in their work. They should identify and describe orally and in writing the subject matter, symbols and ideas in their own art work and that of diverse cultures and historical periods. Students should know that artists get their ideas in many ways, some of which include nature, emotions, poetry, fiction, imagination, history, and current events. Fifth grade pupils should know and use the terms color, line, shape, texture, balance, symmetry, and rhythm as part of their art vocabulary. They should be able to observe and identify movement, pattern, contrast, emphasis, and composition in their work. While exploring and developing confidence and control in using felt, fabric, and yarn, students should also learn to execute both running and cross stitches in order to sew pieces of cloth together. Lastly, and possibly most significant to the outcome of the unit, students must use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner. (Kane, Curricular Unit: Visual Arts 2012)

 

As the standards dictate, students will be able to identify and define line, color, shape, space, and texture as elements of art in order to engage in critical thinking processes when creating their own work and to aid in the acquisition of art vocabulary. Students will be able to use pencil, crayon, marker, oil pastel, colored pencil, and paint in one image in order to understand and create a mixed media image. Students will be able to draw from nature, emotions, poetry, imagination, and current events in order to generate ideas essential to creating their own works of art. Students will be able to create two poems in order to express themselves in writing. Students will be able to participate in class discussion, gallery walks, and critiques in order to express themselves and ideas about their own art, and art created by their peers, orally. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the terms balance, symmetry, rhythm, movement, pattern, contrast, and emphasis in order incorporate these themes in their work. Students will be able to identify and define the terms composition, positive space, and negative space in order to create images that are well composed. Students will be able to explore with felt, fabric, and yarn in order to develop control and confidence in using these materials to make art. Students will be able to execute a running stitch and a cross stitch in order to sew pieces of fabric together. Finally, students will be able to use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner in order to fully explore art materials and techniques, and create a comprehensive breadth of work at the culmination of this unit.

 

Our school schedule is created to allow for students to engage in one special subject everyday for an entire quarter. This type of schedule is conducive to creating a continuum of learning and being able to focus on one unit each year. Since, the schedule is set up this way, I often structure the fifth thru eighth grade classes in the way college courses are structured. I like to begin with a schedule that is very similar to a syllabus. On the first day we review this schedule and we discuss the “why” for our learning. Essentially, students are made aware of the objective and intended outcome before they are ever exposed to the course content. After reviewing the schedule, we review the rubric. The rubric I have developed for assessing students was designed to be simplistic enough for them to understand. Students are made aware that each project they complete is graded with regard to how well they followed the directions or guidelines of the assignment, their craftsmanship, and their time management, which is often linked to their behavior. On the back of each project they submit they will find a “D”, a “C’, and a “T’ with a number next to it. Those numbers are added together and the sum divided by three to produce their final project grade. This number is circled so that students can find their final grade quickly. In my experience, I have found that transparency with regard to lesson objectives and grading yields the best result with regard to student accountability. I often hear students speaking to each other while completing assignments using statements like “well, you followed the directions, but look at your craftsmanship. It’s not neat. You know you’re going to lose points for that.” Transparency with grading also allows me to easily remind students that they need to be on task. When I see a group of students that are playing with supplies or spending more time engaging in conversation than creating, I can simply whisper to them, “remember, your time management is factored into your overall grade. I would hate for you to receive a “C” on this beautiful project because you haven’t mastered the art of working and talking at the same time. If you aren’t able to do both at the same time, choose working over talking for the sake of your grade.” These prompts work at varying degrees depending on the attitude of the class or the individual student. Nonetheless, developing a process that is communicated to the students creates consistency and accountability for both parties.

 

I am very excited to further develop this unit and then to embark upon its facilitation once it is complete. As I have previously stated, this current school year was particularly difficult and disenchanting with regard to middle school. While I know the 21st century child in an inner city setting is met with many socio economic challenges, and technological influences, I believe there is hope for equality in education so that they too can be players in the development of a better world. That was my philosophy when I decided to pursue a career in education and my feelings remain the same. My participation in the Dark Fantastic seminar has given me the language to define my philosophy and relit the spark of hope I felt when I began teaching. Though speculative, the hopes and dreams I have for my students are attainable. Teaching is social justice work, and as Sheree’ Renee Thomas stated in her foreword of “Octavia’s Brood”, “I have a dream for the future and a love that has the best hopes and wishes for humanity at heart.” (Thomas, 2015)

 

Content Objectives & Teaching Strategies

 

As we delve deeper into the objectives and intentions of this unit, I would like to identify the overarching goals of the unit in order to develop more targeted plans for each lesson within the unit. The content objectives will explain what I want students to learn, while the language objectives explain how students will acquire knowledge and how they demonstrate ownership of the knowledge, technique, and skill they have acquired. There are four overall goals that this curriculum is being created to achieve. They are relevant to increasing student awareness of their attitudes and behaviors, and to increasing student awareness of how attitude and behavior directly correlate to the acquisition of new skills and knowledge. The overarching content objectives are as follows:

  • Students will be able to use creative arts techniques as a vehicle for self expression.
  • Students will be able to acknowledge the importance of using safety and practicing respect and responsibility when using visual arts tools, supplies, and materials.
  • Students will be able to identify the elements of art and explain how they are as crucial to art as ingredients in a recipe.
  • Students will be able to view works of visual art and use visual arts language when engaging in artistic discourse.

 

Earlier in my unit I spoke about my concern for my students’ ability to develop an understanding of who they are given the amount of distraction they face when living in urban environments, attending schools in urban environments, living through socio-economic challenges, accessing persuasive messages through technology and social media, and enduring peer pressure. The overarching content objectives are intended to address those concerns. My primary goal is to expose students to the emotional benefits of submerging themselves in the arts. Thus, I developed the content objective which states students will be able to use creative arts techniques as a vehicle for self expression. If students can learn the balance between respecting the arts but not taking them so seriously that they are discouraged and frustrated by the process involved with learning, then they will be able to experience the joy and relief of the creative experience. Adding to that, many of my students seem to struggle with verbally articulating and expressing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a manner that is appropriate and effective. I find that non-verbal forms of expression, like music, dance, and visual art are highly effective in offering students an outlet. The lessons in this curriculum were created with the goal to engage students and reduce inhibition so that they do not feel the pressure of “getting it right” that often chips away at their enjoyment of learning skills or techniques that are not easy and unfamiliar.

 

I have planned to diversify the way students are able to acquire knowledge. In the first lesson, students will be writing in addition to using visual arts techniques. The quilting lesson will require students to read about the quilters of Gees Bend. The third lesson will encourage students to operate and use familiar and existing technology to explore their original ideas, as they will be using smartphones to create a “selfie” series. Students will be speaking and listening in order to execute the futuristic found poems they will create in lesson four. Research and data collection will be practiced in the fifth lesson in which students will explore their personal goals.

 

Aside from diversifying the way students will learn, I have also created a series of lessons that will expose students to varied forms of artistic media and technique which is also critical in establishing their language as artists. Being able to practice, and eventually master (if they choose) varied artistic media and technique is similar to an individual who speaks several languages. As artists they will be able to communicate and reach a wider range of people. These lessons all align with my goal of offering my students exposure to and knowledge of the elements of art. In their first lesson students will be using varied line characters to create doodled illustrations of their poems. In addition to drawing, students will be able to use watercolor paints, inks, and colored pencil. In the quilting lesson students will develop their patience, hand-eye coordination, and attention to detail by learning to sew basic stitches. This will afford students an opportunity to develop with familiarity with various textiles with different textures including felt, cotton, and yarn. The selfie project will force students to consider the elements of color, value and space when composing their self portraits. This type of portraiture project will also familiarize students with some of the concepts and vocabulary associated with basic photography. In the final lessons of our curriculum students will be able to practice different collage techniques. They will gain exposure to the practices of using “X-acto” knives, decoupage materials, cardboard, and pastels.

 

My next major concern with regard to my students are their attitudes and behaviors. I worked with an eighth grade student during my first year with the School District of Philadelphia. He was not particularly interested in the visual arts, but, as we developed our teacher-student relationship, we were able to practice mutual respect for the expectations and needs of the other. He acknowledged that I did not need him to love art, but I did expect and need respect. I needed him in his seat and abstaining from the use of profanity. I expected him to practice self respect by making an effort to complete assignments and learn techniques, therefore allowing himself to learn a new skill and showing concern for his grades and his future. This student was both “book smart” and “street smart”. He was also a very accomplished musician and played in the school orchestra. He was murdered this year. From my understanding, his murder was due in part to mistaken identity and the company he kept. He was a great kid with so much potential. He was a child and now he is dead. I worry for my students all the time and I want them to understand that their attitude and behavior has an impact on everything. It has an impact on their education. It has an impact on their choices. It has an impact on their opportunities. It has an in impact on their futures and, though it shouldn’t, it apparently has an impact on their lives. I worry that if they do not learn to control their impulses their experiences and opportunities will continually be limited. I know this, because I, as their teacher, have had to shift lessons and alter materials when students continue to exhibit a lack of regard for their learning, their peers learning, the safety of themselves and their peers, and the materials we use to create art. Year after year I have watched my middle school students demonstrate a level of impulse control and poor choices that is most often associated with second and third graders. It is very concerning and I am determined to try to change that pattern of thought and behavior. The content objective that states students will be able to acknowledge the importance of using safety and practicing respect and responsibility when using visual arts tools, supplies, and materials was developed for that reason.

 

Throughout my career I have continually pondered how I can teach respect and responsibility. In my efforts to achieve this career goal, I have participated in intensive and extensive professional development on the subject, but life teaches us that experience is the best teacher. I know that my students know and feel that I respect them and that I take full responsibility for their safety and their learning. What I have not mastered is how to meter my tone and my actions so that my middle school students develop respect for me and practice respectful and responsible behaviors in my classroom.

 

Every year I consider what I would want an administrator to see if they randomly walked into my classroom. First, I want the classroom, to function like an art studio. There is a significant difference between an art classroom and an art studio. In an art classroom, students are seated, quiet or speaking quietly, and actively working on their projects. However, an art studio may be a little loud and busy with movement and production. Artists may move throughout the room to retrieve supplies. They engage in discourse about their work, their ideas, and maybe even their frustration when working with materials. They consult each other for support and constructive feedback about their approaches to executing their ideas. They aide each other in grasping techniques, acknowledge their peers’ mastery of a technique, and celebrate each others’ ideas. There may even be some artists wearing headphones in order to listen to music while executing their projects. As a graduate of a visual arts institution I realize this ideal of an elementary art studio may be a far reach, but I would rather set the bar high so that my students are on the path to college level thinking and behavior before they even enter high school. I struggled this year. I struggled with middle school and I know it is because I lowered my expectations of my middle school students when I became overwhelmed by the level of disrespect and disinterest I encountered in my art classroom. I use the word classroom loosely, because many days it felt like I was monitoring a cafeteria. Only, food would be replaced with art supplies that were mishandled and occasionally thrown across the classroom. I can not have another school year like this. My career will not survive the burnout.

 

I have a reputation for being a “cool” teacher. Students will routinely come to visit me to say hello, participate in random discussion about their day, and sometimes even vent to me about issues they may be having with another teacher. I cherish these exchanges, but I need my students to respect me as a teacher as well as a confidant. This year I plan to create a studio environment, particularly for my middle school students. Middle school students have not responded well to demands to remain quiet or self monitor their volume. They feel it is their right to converse loudly during art class. Is hasn’t worked to make threats regarding the destruction or misuse of supplies, because student’s parents and school administration do not see those behaviors as egregious. I often wonder if I’m being to lenient with regard to the boundaries that I set, or even if I am not being steadfast in upholding those boundaries. I wonder if I give in too easily to student complaints by compromising about guidelines, or bargaining about the type of assignments and materials students will be exposed to based on their behavior. I realize a statement like “we are supposed to use paint but we can’t if you can handle crayons or markers” gives the students all the power. That statement suggests that if they make the decision that horseplay and loud conversation are more fun than using paint that is what they will do until they are ready to behave in a manner that will allow for the use of paint. While, I am not interested in a power play with preteens and teenagers, it is my job to control and manage the class. It is also my job to ensure that learning takes place. Learning can happen in a busy environment, but my middle school students have not consistently been productive in the art classroom.

 

Here is my plan to create a middle school art studio. Students will no longer complete school art assignments, instead our projects will be referred to as jobs. My studies in Illustration were centered around work as a freelance artist. Our projects were assigned as if we were tasked with completing a job. Our grade was compensation for our successful execution of the job. While many of my students behave as if they aren’t concerned about their art grade in front of their peers, many of them are genuinely concerned about their grades and most of their parents are concerned about their grades. So this year, students will be tasked with completing jobs. Students who successfully execute tasks will be “hired” those who do not will fail to get the job. As such, grading of jobs will be pass or fail, versus A, B,C,D, or F. However, students will receive a letter grade for their studio behavior. This grade will be more reflective of their efforts versus their skills.

 

Additionally, I will work harder at creating an outlet for student work to be showcased and commended throughout the school building. If other teachers, administrators, and peers acknowledge student work that will motivate students who are creatively inclined and inspire those who may struggle. Thus, a personal career goal of mine for the 2020-2021 school year is to create an arts newsletter in conjunction with both the drama and music teachers. Another personal career goal of mine for the upcoming school year is to create an arts task force made up of middle school students who I can train to create creative displays of artwork outside of their classrooms. I would develop the task force in September, train throughout the month of October and begin to oversee the installations in November while increasingly minimizing my oversight and intervention as the school year continues to progress.

 

In order to manage misbehavior in the studio students will be allowed to move freely throughout the room to gather supplies. We will have periods of time during class that are strictly devoted to production and periods that are strictly devoted to conversation and exchange of ideas. During production periods students will not be permitted to talk, but they will be permitted to listen to music if they have ear plugs or head phones. Depending on the efforts to adhere to studio guidelines and thoughtfully execute tasks, students will receive incentives. Incentives, small laminated cards (the size of a credit card) can be redeemed for an opportunity to engage in a ten-minute discussion with a peer or have first access to limited supplies. These incentives will be distributed every Monday and will expire that Friday. Earning incentives will be competitive as there will only be three of each kind to distribute. Here I have created an outline that is less rule centered, but still structured. I will not be compromising with students regarding guidelines this upcoming school year, nor will I be altering assignments based on behavior. Students who are unable to manage supplies will likely be unable to complete the job, thus they will fail. As long as I maintain consistent communication with parents and administration, there should be no confusion or pushback. I think this system will encourage students to adjust their behaviors instead of assignments and materials having to be adjusted for misbehavior.

One of my primary reasons for embarking on a career as an educator of students in urban environments was a personal goal to bridge the gap of inequality that exists between students who are learning in urban settings and students who are learning in more rural or suburban settings. I realize my use of the word urban may even be misleading as certain urban environments throughout the city of Philadelphia, and many other cities in the United States, are being increasingly inhabited by more affluent individuals due to gentrification. However, in the City of Philadelphia and The School District of Philadelphia there is still an alarming amount of disparity amongst schools that are housed in different zip codes. While The School District of Philadelphia operates as one entity, the state of the neighborhood that houses each school building determines the state of the school’s appearance and climate. If a student attends a school district school in an economically challenged area of the city, the student does not have the same educational experience as students who live in sections of the city that are inhabited by more affluent dwellers. Thus, the school endures economic challenges, which yield many other deficits and challenges.

 

It troubles me that a district can be inequitable. I have heard my parents and many others in their generation proudly proclaim that they are products of the Philadelphia public school system. My father has explained how the schools were essentially the same, and only your zip code was the determining factor in the school you attended. If a student were to make the claim that they were a product of the Philadelphia public school system today, they might be inclined to delineate which school or the area in which they attended school because the schools in The School District of Philadelphia vastly differ based on zip code today. That being said, when considering a school upon site selection, I wanted to work in an urban area that was familiar to me. I wanted to be in an area where I could offer the students the quality of arts education I knew they would be unlikely to receive due to inaccessibility. My school, during my time there, is an example of the balance between economic challenge or disadvantage and rising gentrification. A large percentage of the students at Henry C. Lea Elementary face socio-economic challenges, but the school is located in an area that is steadily gentrifying so the student body seems to be slowly shifting. Due to the location of the school and the endeavors of administration, the students at Lea are able to benefit from partnerships with institutions like The University of Pennsylvania. This offers students greater access to opportunities that may not be offered to students who attend Philadelphia School District schools that are not in gentrified or located in collegiate pockets of the city.

 

Again, my primary focus when endeavoring to teach was to serve urban youth. Throughout my studies, I was exposed to students in every area of Philadelphia. In that time, I felt the demographic that was most in need of quality arts education and exposure were those students who didn’t live in the “nicer” areas. I also realized those were the students I could relate to personally. Although I had been raised in a quieter section of Philadelphia, and my parents had been able to make the sacrifice of sending my brother and I to a Catholic elementary school that was beautifully maintained and where there was hardly ever any student violence, I still did not have access to the arts in school. My formal art education began in high school. As an aspiring arts educator I knew that students who possess interest and talent in the arts would potentially be so much more advanced in their creativity if they were able to begin their formal arts education in Kindergarten. They say practice makes perfect, well, if students are able to begin practicing something in elementary school versus high school, they would be afforded an additional nine years of practice. When I really think about the amount of foundation, practice, and confidence I could have gained from being guided by an arts educator in the nine years I attended elementary school, I am astounded. I decided I wanted to be the person that offered students that level of guidance, practice, and confidence.

 

I am actually proud to say I succeeded. In my first year at Henry C. Lea Elementary I encountered a group of Eighth grade students who did not take art seriously. The art teacher before me had become disenchanted or discouraged, which led him to consistently call out of work and then quit. Add to that, the students felt they were not skilled or talented in drawing or painting so they had no interest in trying because they would become defeated and frustrated. I was facing a daunting task, I realized I would need to get them to take me seriously, and I did that by taking them, their lives, their interests, and their pursuits seriously. I validated their interests, so they began to validate mine. I modelled mutual respect, so they began to practice mutual respect. It seemed they felt, if Ms. Wood can listen to me complain about one of my other teachers, the least I can do is listen to Ms. Wood talk about abstract shapes or Illuminated letters. As a result of listening to me talk about Illuminated letters they were inspired to create their own.

 

I also taught them that art is more than drawing and painting. It’s concept, creativity, diligence, and then skill. If they had a creative concept I could teach them the skill they needed to execute it. Similarly, art is theory, history and discourse, so if they weren’t able to master a skill, but they actively listened when I spoke, they could acquire vocabulary and knowledge of different techniques. They might not feel confident in making art, but they possessed the vocabulary to talk about the art they viewed in a way that was more critical than “I like it. It’s nice. That’s ugly.” Instead of solely having them create projects, I tested them on their knowledge of vocabulary and concepts. This was a method of differentiating the learning, and it required them to think, read, and articulate their thoughts and understanding in words versus images. Their growth was incredible.

 

I also began to showcase their work. They were often excited and surprised to see something they had created on display outside of the school’s main office. Often, if a students’ work was not displayed they inquired why. I used that inquiry as the basis to encourage them to take craftsmanship more seriously, and that only yielded to more thoughtful and responsible artists. When they graduated from Lea, some of these students returned to visit. I happened to see them in the hallway and they were so eager to tell me how their ninth grade art teachers were teaching them value, perspective, and other concepts we had covered, but they were bored because they had already learned that with me. Differentiation, modelling, student based inquiry and discussion are all proven teaching strategies I can use to garner student interest. It is very important to me that my students are able to speak about their art, and art created by others, in addition to possessing the skill to create art. I know that if I remain consistent and tenacious my students will be able to identify the elements of art and explain how they are as crucial to art as ingredients in a recipe, and view works of visual art and use visual arts language when engaging in artistic discourse, which are the third and fourth overarching objectives of my curriculum unit.  

Classroom Activities

 

Teacher:

Vanetta Wood

Subject/Grade:

Art/ 5th Grade

Length : 10 (45 minute) Art Sessions/ Two Weeks Skill(s): Drawing, tracing, transferring, painting, coloring, and writing.
Essential Question:   What is your origin story?

Project Overview: Students will work from a template to create an autobiographical poem. After creating their poems students will learn about line as an element of art, doodles, and composition in order to create a doodled illustration of their origin story poem.

Lesson Title: Illustrated Origin Story

Focus Students’ Attention Statement of Objective – What should students know and do as a result of the lesson? (Component 1C)
 

 

 

SWBAT:

1.      Identify line as an element of art.

2.      Explain the term line character and use different line characters, with confidence, in their drawings.

3.      Explain the term composition.

4.      Explain the terms positive and negative space.

5.      Manage positive and negative space to create a well-balanced composition.

6.      Explain the term illustration.

IOT: Create an illustrated autobiographical poem.

Common Core Focus Relevance/Rationale: (Why are the outcomes of this lesson important in the real world? Why are these outcomes essential for future learning?) (Components 1A,1C)

 

 

 

 

9.1.5.A: Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.

9.1.5.B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.

9.1.5.C: Know and use fundamental vocabulary within each of the arts forms.

9.1.5.D: Describe and use knowledge of a specific style within each art form through a performance or exhibition of a unique work.

9.1.5.E: Know and demonstrate how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts.

9.1.5.H: Use and maintain materials, equipment and tools safely at work and performance spaces.

9.3.5.D: Compare similar and contrasting important aspects of works in the arts and humanities based on a set of guidelines using a comprehensive vocabulary of critical response.

 

9.4.5.D: Explain choices made regarding media, technique, form, subject matter and themes that communicate the artist’s philosophy within a work in the arts and humanities (e.g., selection of stage lighting in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story to communicate mood).

 

 

Introductory / Short Lecture/ and/or Developmental Activities Teacher Directed Activities:  ( Teaching of the new concept)

How will you aid students in constructing meaning of new concepts? How will you introduce/model new skills or procedures? What instructional strategy(ies) will you introduce, re-introduce or utilize to ensure comprehension? (Component 1E)

 

 

 

What does the word origin mean? We all start or begin somewhere. Many times the things that happen early in our lives have an impact on who we become. Our experiences shapes how we see ourselves, others, and the world. Many of our lessons this year will be focused on you. We will be learning and practicing different art techniques that you can use to express yourself. In this first lesson, you will create a poem that tells the reader all about you.

After creating your poem, you will illustrate the poem with a doodle. Doodles are types of drawings that are usually fun and spontaneous. A doodle usually shows a cluster of smaller objects or images that are usually related to each other. What objects or images would be used in an illustration about you?

Guided Practice Teacher-Monitored Activities:

 What will students do together to use new concepts or skills? How will you assist students in this process? (Component 1E)

  Day 1: Teacher will distribute and introduce the origin story template. Teacher will facilitate a review of the template and guide students through completion of the first prompt in the template.

Day 2: Teacher will present students with a complete exemplar of a completed origin story poem. Teacher will facilitate a discussion around writing neatly, using font to determine and support the mood of the poem, and craftsmanship. Teacher will also facilitate a discussion on line character and encourage students to visit the board to show different line characters.

Day 3: Teacher will facilitate a discussion on composition and positive and negative space. Teacher will demonstrate how a composition is made up of both positive and negative space. Students will be encouraged to consider both types of space when creating their doodles for the margins of their origin story poems. Teacher will also review best practices for using tracing paper.

Day 4 – Day 5: Teacher will review lesson guidelines and expectations for completion.

Day 6: Teacher will facilitate a review of the steps and process involved with transferring an image from one piece of paper to another.

Day 7 & Day 8: Teacher will review best practices and expectations for using coloring supplies. Teacher will facilitate practice and review of the procedures for retrieving supplies and cleaning up the studio when the production period has ended.

Day 9: Teacher will facilitate an interactive review of lesson concepts and vocabulary where students will work in teams and move throughout the classroom, with timed prompts, to complete a series of questions requiring them to write, draw, and discuss their responses.

Day 10: Teacher will review expectations for completing written assessment. Teacher will also guide students through the process of completing the self assessment properly.

Independent  Practice or Activities Practice Activities, Refinement, and Extension:  What opportunities will students have to use the new skills and concepts in a meaningful way? How will students expand and solidify their understanding of the concept and apply it to a real-world situation?  How will students demonstrate their mastery of the essential learning outcomes? (Components 1E, 1F)
  Day 1: Students will use the origin story template to complete the remainder of their origin story poem.

Day 2: Students will write their origin story poem on their “good” piece of paper. Students will create ten different line characters they can use in their doodle illustration of their poems.

Day 3: Students will begin drawing and or tracing images, shapes, and symbols onto a sheet of tracing paper to begin creating their illustrations.

Day 4: Students will continue drawing and or tracing to create their illustrations.

Day 5: Students will continue drawing and or tracing to complete their illustrations.

Day 6: Students will transfer their drawings into the margins of their origin story poem.

Day 7: Students will use black Sharpie marker to trace all the lines in their illustrations.

Day 8: Students will use marker, watercolor paint, and colored pencil to add color to their illustrations.

Day 9: Students will participate in an interactive review of lesson vocabulary and concepts in order to prepare for written assessment.

Day 10: Students will complete the written assessment and a self assessment of their completed project.

Assessment/

Closure

What does success on this lesson’s outcomes look like? (Component 1F)

ßFormative Assessment:   How will you & your students know if they have successfully met the outcomes? What specific criteria will be met in a successful product/process? ßClosure ActivitiesHow will you assist students in reflecting upon what they learned today and are preparing for tomorrow’s lesson? What homework will be assigned to help students practice, prepare, or elaborate on a concept or skill taught? ßSummative Assessment: How will you ensure that all students have mastered the identified learning indicators? How will you assess their learning daily?  How will you assess their learning at the end of a unit?
Successful students will be able to explain the terms origin, doodle, illustration, composition, positive space and negative space.

Successful students will be able to identify and utilize the steps in the transfer method.

Successful students will also be able to use images to convey ideas, interests, and personal qualities.

Teacher will facilitate a review at the end of each class so that students may demonstrate their knowledge of lesson concepts and vocabulary. Daily assessments will take place when students participate in review at the end of each class and when teacher reviews students’ work each day.

Cumulative Assessments will include self assessment, group interactive review, and written assessment.

 

Resources/Materials: What texts, digital resources, & materials will be used in this lesson? (Component 1D)
 

 

 

Resources:

Printed copies of doodle images for students to trace or use as reference for their doodle illustration.

Origin story template (which is a modified version of George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem).

 

Teacher exemplar.

 

 

 

Materials:

Paper, pencils, black Sharpie markers, tracing paper, watercolor paint, markers, colored pencils, cups, and paint brushes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTIST SELF ASSESSMENT

 

Artist’s Name: _____________________________________________

 

Job Title: ________________________________________________

 

Task: ____________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

 

Start Date: ________________________________

 

Due Date: _________________________________

 

Which elements of art were used to complete this job? _________________________________________________________

 

Directions Checklist:

  • Complete the Origin Story Template (17 pts)
  • Write Origin Story neatly on “good” paper. (17 pts)
  • Create doodle composition on tracing paper. (17 pts)
  • Transfer doodle composition to “good” paper to fill positive and negative space around Origin Story. (17 pts)
  • Trace all pencil lines with black Sharpie marker. (17 pts)
  • (Optional) Add color to illustration using watercolor paint, colored pencils, and/or markers.
  • Completed self assessment. (15 pts)

 

Craftsmanship: How does your project look? 

  • Neat & Clean
  • Okay but could be better (-5 pts)
  • Not so good (-10 pts)
  • Pretty messy (-15 pts)

 

Time Management: Did you complete the job by the due date?

 

  • Yes
  • No… Why? ____________________________________________

Artist’s Statement: In a paragraph, explain what your piece is about. Explain how you felt during the process of creating the work and using the materials. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher:

Vanetta Wood

Subject/Grade:

Art/ 5th Grade

Dates: 15 (45 minute) Art Sessions/ 3 Weeks Skill(s): Planning, cutting, gluing, and sewing.
Essential Question:   How can we use art to build community?

Project Overview: Students will learn basic hand sewing techniques in order to create individual quilt squares. Students will work from a selection of textiles and be encouraged to choose materials that are meaningful to them, telling of their experiences, and descriptive of their personalities. We will practice the basic running stitch as well as the overstitch. We will also explore the significance of color and texture in establishing mood.  

Lesson Title: Community Quilt

Focus Students’ Attention Statement of Objective – What should students know and do as a result of the lesson? (Component 1C)
 

 

 

SWBAT:

7.      Identify line, shape, texture, and color as elements of art.

8.      Thread a needle.

9.      Practice the running stitch and the overstitch.

10.   Use colors and texture to establish a mood in a piece of artwork.

11.   Use pattern and repetition to establish balance in a composition.

IOT: Create a quilt square that represents their personality and experiences that will be featured in a community class quilt.

Common Core Focus Relevance/Rationale: (Why are the outcomes of this lesson important in the real world? Why are these outcomes essential for future learning?) (Components 1A,1C)

 

 

 

 

9.1.5.A: Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.

9.1.5.B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.

9.1.5.C: Know and use fundamental vocabulary within each of the arts forms.

9.1.5.D: Describe and use knowledge of a specific style within each art form through a performance or exhibition of a unique work.

9.1.5.E: Know and demonstrate how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts.

9.1.5.H: Use and maintain materials, equipment and tools safely at work and performance spaces.

9.2.5.A: Explain the historical, cultural and social context of an individual work in the arts.

 

9.2.5.B: Relate works in the arts chronologically to historical events (e.g., 10,000 B.C. to present).

 

9.2.5.C: Relate works in the arts to varying styles and genre and to the periods in which they were created (e.g., Bronze Age, Ming Dynasty, Renaissance, Classical, Modern, Post-Modern, Contemporary, Futuristic, others).

 

9.2.5.D: Analyze a work of art from its historical and cultural perspective.

 

9.2.5.E: Analyze how historical events and culture impact forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts (e.g., Gilbert and Sullivan operettas)

 

9.2.5.K: Identify, explain and analyze traditions as they relate to works in the arts (e.g., story telling – plays, oral histories- poetry, work songs- blue grass).

Identify critical processes in the examination of works in the arts and humanities.

·        Compare and contrast
·        Analyze
·        Interpret
·        Form and test hypotheses
·        Evaluate/form judgments

9.3.5.D: Compare similar and contrasting important aspects of works in the arts and humanities based on a set of guidelines using a comprehensive vocabulary of critical response.

 

9.4.5.D: Explain choices made regarding media, technique, form, subject matter and themes that communicate the artist’s philosophy within a work in the arts and humanities (e.g., selection of stage lighting in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story to communicate mood).

 

 

 

 

 

Introductory / Short Lecture/ and/or Developmental Activities Teacher Directed Activities:  ( Teaching of the new concept)

How will you aid students in constructing meaning of new concepts? How will you introduce/model new skills or procedures? What instructional strategy(ies) will you introduce, re-introduce or utilize to ensure comprehension? (Component 1E)

 

 

 

Introduction to Lesson: What is a community? Our art studio is a community. Each of you make up a part of the community that exists within our art studio. Whether we realize it or not, community is something that is very essential to our well being. Being a part of a community can help you during times of sadness and during hardships you may encounter. Being part of a community is also important to teach responsibility for yourself and others. For example, each of us has a role in our community. You all as students, friends, and artists and me as teacher, friend, and artist. My role is to make sure you all learn and are safe, but your role as students is also crucial. If one of you is having upset and choosing to act out, that effects the learning that happens in our community. Think about how it would feel if you answered a question incorrectly and your classmates applauded you for even trying. Then think about how it would feel if you answered a question incorrectly and your classmates laughed and made fun of you. Answering incorrectly may always feel embarrassing, but you might feel more supported in your efforts to learn if your classmates acknowledge your efforts. We want to establish a positive community in our art studio. What kinds of interaction with others makes you feel good and safe? Think about that as you encounter others. If an action or statement hurts your feelings or makes you feel guarded, the chances of that same action or statement hurting another person are very likely. In a positive community the individuals who make up the community are concerned with the well being of others. They show respect, kindness, and caring. They hold each other up when they are experiencing hard times. They celebrate together when experiencing good times and achievements. Each person in a community has their own story, their own challenges, and their own traits that make them unique. We are going to work together to create a quilt. The sections in the quilt will be created by each of you. When we put the quilt together, using each of your sections, people will be able to see your individuality in each square, but also the sense of community when viewing it as a whole.

Introduction to Sewing: In order to create our community quilt we will be hand sewing. I say hand sewing because we will use our hands instead of a machine to sew fabrics into our quilted squares. We will learn to thread a needle, and then to use that needle to create a running stitch and an overstitch. Right now, those probably sound like random words, but as we start learning more about sewing it will all began to make more sense.

Introduction to color, texture, and mood: What does it mean if I say that I am in a good mood? Mood is related to feeling. Sometimes colors can be used to create a mood. For example, what color do we often see associated with sadness? What color do we often see associated with anger? If I create a painting using only shades of blue, it will feel very different than a painting created using only shades of yellow. The same thing is true about texture. Some things can have a rough and scratchy texture while others can have a smooth or soft texture. I know that I prefer to see things that are smooth versus things that are rough. When you are choosing the textiles, or fabric materials, to use for your quilt square, make sure you think about textures and colors and how they both relate to the mood you are trying to establish in your quilt square.

 

Guided Practice Teacher-Monitored Activities:

 What will students do together to use new concepts or skills? How will you assist students in this process? (Component 1E)

  Day 1: Teacher will place a completed exemplar of the running stitch, with printed directions and pictures of each step at each of the six tables in the art studio. There will be a laptop computer set up in the back of the room with directions for accessing the video demonstration of the running stitch. Table 1 will view the running stitch video tutorial, while teacher facilitates a live demonstration for table 2. Tables 3-6 will begin practicing the stitch based on the printed directions and pictures. A timer will be set for 5 minutes. When the timer sounds, table 1 will return to their table to begin practicing, table 2 will watch the video tutorial, and teacher will rotate to table 3 to provide live demonstration and answer questions based on their practice. This will continue until all tables have been able to view the video tutorial and the live demonstration facilitated by teacher.

Day 2: Teacher will pre-cut 12”x12” pieces of paper and place them, along with rulers at each of the 6 tables. Teacher will facilitate a discussion about grids and the term asymmetrical, and provide students with guidelines for creating the grid. Students must use straight lines to create the squares and rectangles in their grid. There should be 12 shapes in the grid, no more, no less. Triangles can be used as accent shapes. At the end of the brief discussion, teacher will present students with a completed exemplar of an asymmetrical grid. A timer will be set for 15 minutes.  Once the times sounds, students should transition for discussion on repetition and balance. In a brief discussion, teacher will provide a completed quilt square exemplar that shows balance and repetition by repeating 3 or 4 of the same pieces of fabric in multiple disconnected areas of the grid.

Day 3: Teacher will demonstrate the process of replicating the paper grid onto a piece of felt using a pencil and ruler. Once completed, teacher will also demonstrate the proper usage of spray adhesive, discuss safety measures and tips for removing spray adhesive from hands, and review clean-up procedures to ensure a smooth transition.

Day 4: Teacher will provide students with a rubric and timeline for the completion of their quilt squares.

Day 5: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 6: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 7: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 8: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 9: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 10: Teacher will review timeline and completion deadlines.

Day 11: Teacher will facilitate a brief discussion of the overstitch and explain that students will be using it to essentially sandwich their sewing knots between two pieces of felt making them invisible. The same formula that was used to teach the running stitch will be used to teach the overstitch with students receiving video demonstration, live demonstration, and printed directions with pictorial references.

Day 12: Teacher will distribute colored pieces of felt so that students are able to begin working quickly. While students are sewing, teacher will prepare six 24”x24” panels from heavy black cardstock. Once the panels have been cut to size, teacher will use a ruler and white color pencil to create four connected squares on each panel.

Day 13: Teacher will facilitate a discussion and planning session to organize the community quilt. First, students work will be placed on the floor in the center of the room. Students will stand around their quilt squares and collaborate in order to arrange the quilt squares in a manner that is agreeable to the majority. Two rounds, in each round, students will be given a minute to swap one quilt square with another. The placement at the end of the second round will determine the final placement of the squares for the hallway installation.  Teacher will take a picture of the final arrangement with her phone.

Day 14: Before class begins, teacher will number each square in each of the six black panels “1-24”. During class, teacher will call each students to place their quilt square into their designated panel square by exposing the adhesive backing on the Velcro and sticking it to the panel square. Quilt squares and panel squares will also be matched to each student before class begins in order to maximize instructional time.

Day 15: Teacher will facilitate a written assessment by reviewing the procedure and expectations for behavior. Teacher will also review the steps for completion and submission of student self assessments.

Independent  Practice or Activities Practice Activities, Refinement, and Extension:  What opportunities will students have to use the new skills and concepts in a meaningful way? How will students expand and solidify their understanding of the concept and apply it to a real-world situation?  How will students demonstrate their mastery of the essential learning outcomes? (Components 1E, 1F)
  Day 1: Students will practice the running stitch on a small piece of felt.

Day 2: Students will select swatches of fabric and begin planning the design of their individual quilt squares. Students will plan their design by creating an asymmetrical grid on a piece of 12”x12” piece of paper. Students will be allowed to use rectangles and squares to create their grids. Students will be given the option to add triangles as accents throughout the grid. Once complete, students will be encouraged to plot out the placement of each piece of fabric in a section of the grid. Piece of fabric should be used more than once, but in areas of the grid that are not connected, in order to establish repetition and balance in the quilt square.

Day 3: Students will begin sewing their quilt squares. Students will replicate their grid on an 12”x12” piece of felt using a ruler and a pencil. Students will begin cutting fabric, one piece at a time to fill their grids. Once a piece of fabric is sized and cut, students will use spray adhesive to temporarily adhere the fabric to the felt. Once this step is complete, students will begin using the running stitch around the edge of the fabric piece at secure it to the felt backing. Students should repeat these steps until they have covered the surface of their felt piece with fabric.

Day 4: Students will continue sewing their quilt squares.

Day 5: Students will continue sewing their quilt squares. (25% completion)

Day 6: Students will continue sewing their quilt squares.

Day 7: Students will continue sewing their quilt squares. (50% completion)

Day 8: Students will continue sewing their quilt square. (75% completion)

Day 9: Students will continue sewing their quilt square. (90% completion)

Day 10: Students will finish sewing their quilt square. (100% completion)

Day 11: Students will practice the overstitch on a small piece of felt.

Day 12: Students will select a colored piece of felt backing and use the overstitch to add the felt backing to their quilt square. Students will begin by using a small amount of spray adhesive to temporarily adhere their quilt square to its felt backing. Once this step is completed, students can begin using the overstitch to adhere to two pieces felt in order to cover all the knots created by sewing on the back of the initial felt piece.

Day 13: Students will participate in class discussion and gallery walk to plan the organization of the community quilt. Each student will receive four small squares of adhesive Velcro. Students will attach each piece of Velcro to the back of their individual quilt squares, one piece of Velcro per corner.

Day 14: Students will begin working independently to complete a study guide for the written assessment. After 10 minutes of working independently, students will begin working in table groups to complete and review the study guide for written assessment. During this time, students will be called individually to add their quilt square to the community quilt.

Day 15: Students will complete the written assessment and a self assessment of their completed project.

Assessment/

Closure

What does success on this lesson’s outcomes look like? (Component 1F)

ßFormative Assessment:   How will you & your students know if they have successfully met the outcomes? What specific criteria will be met in a successful product/process? ßClosure ActivitiesHow will you assist students in reflecting upon what they learned today and are preparing for tomorrow’s lesson? What homework will be assigned to help students practice, prepare, or elaborate on a concept or skill taught? ßSummative Assessment: How will you ensure that all students have mastered the identified learning indicators? How will you assess their learning daily?  How will you assess their learning at the end of a unit?
Successful students will make a sincere effort to execute the running stitch and overstitch.

Successful students will be able to create a composition that is balanced by the use of repetition.

Successful students will participate in class discussion and practice positive and uplifting interactions with the peers in their art community.

Teacher will facilitate a review at the end of each class so that students may demonstrate their knowledge of lesson concepts and vocabulary. Daily assessments will take place when students participate in review at the end of each class and when teacher reviews students’ work each day.

Cumulative Assessments will include self assessment, group interactive review, and written assessment.

 

Resources/Materials: What texts, digital resources, & materials will be used in this lesson? (Component 1D)
 

 

 

Resources:

Pre-recorded demonstrations of the running stitch and the overstitch.

 

Completed teacher exemplar of running stitch, overstitch, and quilt square.

 

Materials:

Paper, pencils, rulers, fabric swatches and pieces, felt, sewing needles, thread, scissors, spray adhesive, adhesive Velcro, and large black card stock (six pieces sized 24”x24”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTIST SELF ASSESSMENT

 

Artist’s Name: _____________________________________________

 

Job Title: ________________________________________________

 

Task: ____________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

 

Start Date: ________________________________

 

Due Date: _________________________________

 

Which elements of art were used to complete this job? _________________________________________________________

 

Directions Checklist:

  • Practice running stitch (22 pts)
  • Draw an asymmetrical grid and plan out fabric placement. (22 pts)
  • Use running stitch to complete quilt. (22 pts)
  • Use overstitch to add backing to quilt square. (22 pts)
  • Complete self assessment. (12 pts)

 

Craftsmanship: How does your project look? 

  • Neat & Clean
  • Okay but could be better (-5 pts)
  • Not so good (-10 pts)
  • Pretty messy (-15 pts)

 

Time Management: Did you complete the job by the due date?

 

  • Yes
  • No… Why? ____________________________________________

 

Artist’s Statement: In a paragraph, explain what your piece is about. Explain how you felt during the process of creating the work and using the materials. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bibliography

Delacroix, J., Costello, M., Collins, C., & Jones, S. P. (2020). Ending Curriculum Violence. Retrieved May 06, 2020, from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/spring-2020/ending-curriculum-violence

Introduction [Introduction]. (2015). In W. Imarisha & A. M. Brown (Authors), Octavia’s brood: Science fiction stories from social justice movements (pp. 3-4). Oakland, CA: AK Press.

Kane, C. (2012). Curricular Unit: Visual Arts. Retrieved May 06, 2020, from https://phila.schoolnet.com/Align/CurricularUnitDetail.aspx?content_id=74e8b487-aa11-45ab-bc5b-c00163c4128a

MasterClass. (2019, July 02). What Is Speculative Fiction? Defining and Understanding the Different Genres of Speculative Fiction – 2020. Retrieved May 06, 2020, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-speculative-fiction-defining-and-understanding-the-different-genres-of-speculative-fiction

Thomas, S. R. (2015). Birth Of A Revolution [Foreword]. In W. Imarisha & A. M. Brown (Authors), Octavia’s brood: Science fiction stories from social justice movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press.