Final Reflections

Staff Professional Development : 

On May 29, during the grade level meetings , the teachers who participated in the Portfolio Design project, along with the MCLT presented their arts/literacy units to the teachers of grades three through six.. After reviewing the planning process, teachers gave their own reflections on how curriculum integration benefitted their students. It was agreed that the students were more engaged and made deeper connections.The traveling journal/sketchbook was a hit as a resource that was used in both the art room and the classroom.

Community Art Making Event: 

20140409_101203“The Week of the Young Child” is an annual event that celebrates early learning programs and emphasizes their impact in the lives of children. At Fort Dearborn, it is a week full of activities with preschoolers and their parents, including a morning of art making. This year, we created decorated egg potato stamps to commemorate the coming of spring. Parents, teachers and seventh grade volunteers worked  with the toddlers to create a wall full of prints and a room full of giggles.

Teaching Artist Reflection: I felt that the collaboration of the teaching partners on this unit provided such an in depth exploration of arts integration. Ms. Acker's choice of the novel "Bud Not Buddy," provided so many rich topics of discussion and many points of historical reference in a visual form. The culminating project of the suitcase provided students the opportunity to not only display several different skills in different art media but also to express not only the themes of the novel but also to generate their own personal ideas.i MCLT Reflection: The collaboration worked, both with the classroom teachers and the teaching artist. We worked well as a team in both planning and execution of the units. This year, the integration of literacy and visual arts seemed almost seamless. Concepts learned in one class served as a resource in the other. The students were able to more deeply explore ideas from the novel by through a variety of meaningful connections. Teacher Reflection: What seemed to work best this year is the design that allowed a seamless transition from the general education classroom and the fine arts classroom an the fine arts classroom. Students were acclimated to both instructors being knowledgeable about content in both areas. Traveling sketchbooks became a way of life for students and most were able to fill their sketchbooks with critical thoughts from the fine arts and general education classroom.

Teaching Artist Reflection: Having students bring in items from home was a challenge. Since so many students did not, we changed part of the project to having the students create these items out of clay. MCLT Reflection: Although students were engaged while working on their projects, they seem to work very differently than they do in the classroom. For this reason, writing assignments were not as successful when done in the art room. Surveys and lengthy writing assignments had to be done with the classroom teacher present. We had to make the necessary adjustments to get high quality, well thought out reflections from the students. Teacher Reflection: Most activities worked for students throughout the school year. I would not feel confident saying that any aspect of the PDP did not work.

Teaching Artist Reflection: My questions would be for Ms. Acker- how do you see continuing using art in the classroom? I think she she could successfully integrate art in her classroom with some help from Kim. She was so optimistic and so helpful in allowing her students the time to draw in her class when I wasn't there. MCLT Reflection: My questions would be--how do we find the planning time that it takes to create a collaboration as rich as this in the future? Is it possible to create an integrated unit with visual art and another discipline? Teacher Reflection: The few questions I have regarding this art integration project are as follows: How can involved parties (general education teachers, fine arts instructors, etc.)analyze data regarding student growth due to this project over the years? Will CAPE provide any additional art services for Chicago Public School students?

Teaching Artist Reflection: When a teaching artist has completed work on a project, sometimes it can be a very abrupt exit with no time for one-on-one reflection with teachers. I really want to have a conversation with the teachers at Fort Dearborn because they are so passionate about the arts integration. I would like to have a brainstorming session with them to help them generate ideas for the future and to talk to them about certain art media that they could do within their own classroom. MCLT Reflection: I would love to extend the integration to other subject areas. It would be exciting to include science, math and social studies components under one umbrella with the literacy and visual art. I imagine the planning time for such a unit would increase greatly, but if done in stages, it could be quite an exciting learning experience for both students and teachers. Teacher Reflection: Most “new” ideas I have revolve around bringing art back into my regular classroom setting. After conversing, in depth, with teaching artists and the fine arts teachers, I have developed a deeper understanding of how vast art integration can be in a classroom setting. I’ve also decided to collaborate with the fine arts teacher often to keep a seamless transition between arts and general education.

Year One
Year Two
Year Three

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