Teaching Artist Reflection: Overall, this was an inspiring and exciting process for me. I very much enjoyed working with Ms. De Guzman and Ms. Santoyo over the past two years. I have learned a great deal about the collaborative process and how best to balance literacy and music to enhance student learning. Ms. De Guzman has a great deal of experience with the arts integration process and works very well with the other teachers at Perez and so I was able to learn a lot from her. Our varied backgrounds and skills complemented each other very well. We had a good balance of creativity, structure, innovation and a solid foundation in terms of teaching styles. The principal at this school is extremely supportive and that always makes things run more smoothly.
Producing a show was a very exciting process and worked well over the two years. We were able to alter the process the second year to fit with our big idea of teamwork. The first year we had all the students work on all the areas that are required to make a show. The second year we allowed each student to 'specialize' in some areas of the process. They were given the option to work on the set, props, costumes, script, and music in small groups for a number of classes. We did have everyone eventually write music and the script, because those are integral to our literacy and music integration curriculum. This year we also added recit singing instead of just speaking the lines and partner songs. This helped to make the final show more like a real opera and helped the students make connections to the opera they saw on the field trip. A highlight of the year was going to the backstage tour of the Lyric Opera. The students were so engaged the whole time and brought that excitement back to their own show 'jobs'. They were seeing real professional work and relating that to their work at school!
This year the classroom teacher took a greater role in the process. They helped with rehearsals, writing assignments, prop making, social studies collaboration and more. The communication between all the teachers this year was very good.
I like the idea that the students get the chance to perform the whole show during the Fine Arts Festival at Perez instead of just as an assembly during school hrs.
Ms. Santoyo was able to come to a number of the pd days and meetings that we had at the school. She was very involved in the whole process and that helped the students to have consistency in language and learning in regards to our project. She was very invested and helpful during the whole year.
MCLT Reflection: This class improved a great deal in their singing skills especially in their tone quality and harmonization skills. They also responded well to the group work that they did in preparation for their own performance i.e. scenery, costumes, props, script writing, After they had the opportunity to go on a backstage tour at the Lyric Opera, they really were able to put more of their own thoughts and work into their own production planning.
Teacher Reflection: My students enjoyed writing in their journals, and they especially picked up on making connections with their social studies unit on Christopher Columbus. It was good to get the students more engaged with what they are learning in the classroom and applying it to the arts. When students reflect on their work is especially productive and helps them to look back at what they have learned and what they still need to work on.
What did not work?
Teaching Artist Reflection: A lot of the initial planning time was spent developing theoretical concepts for the year, and not enough time deciding the specific details of how we wanted to implement the ideas we had. The professional development days are very informative and useful, but we can always use more time to plan the day to day curriculum. Ms. De Guzman is an extremely busy teacher who takes on lots of exciting art projects to help students get great opportunities. It can be difficult to find enough planning time in her busy schedule.
The final rehearsal process seemed a little rushed, because we had the added elements of the orchestra, sets, costumes, props, and recit singing. We could have used a bit more time to put all the pieces together.
MCLT Reflection: Time is always an issue. Guiding students into more realistic learning plans that could be implemented in the time we have to work would be something to keep in mind for the future.
Teacher Reflection: Students needed more ownership for their work.
What questions do you still have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: How can the teachers carry the knowledge and skills the students have learned in this process over into their classrooms? How does the information the students have learned and the experiences they have had translate to quantitative data? Does the work we have done with the classes show in the final evaluations and interviews with the students?
MCLT Reflection: How can we maintain students enthusiasm for such integrated work into the future? Group work is really a place for students to become engaged in their learning. How can we as teachers make that more productive? Time and resources!!!
Teacher Reflection: How can I continue to integrate the arts in my classroom? I have worked with an artist in residence who comes into my class, and with one who acts as a coach. I think a combination of the two would be good.
What new ideas do you have?
Teaching Artist Reflection: I have so many ideas about how to streamline the process of creating a show with the ideas of literacy and music integration. I think having pre-designed templates for each element of the process. (I did make graphic organizers for most of the areas) It would be good to have a writing question for each area before and after the creative process and give that to the classroom teachers to allow more reflection time.
I have ideas about how to better my own collaborative work with other teachers in the future. I think that having more planning time would help and setting an overall schedule for the year would help a lot.
I have ideas about how to better the 'portfolio' process. I think lined paper as well as blank paper would be helpful to have for writing assignments. Sometimes the students forget to date things and then adding it back into the portfolio is always a tricky process.
I think next time I would give students more time to look at the work they have done periodically throughout the year.
MCLT Reflection: Journals will be definitely continued. I want to have the students see real life applications into answering text dependent questions when the text they are working with is their own writing.
Teacher Reflection: I hope to continue the idea of journals. I want the journals to be not only a place for reflection, but a place where they can express their personal opinions and to be creative.