Music Activity

For my music selection, I chose 3am Bounce by No BS! Brass Band. The instruments I can hear in this song are, of course, brass instruments—trombones, saxophones, tubas, and trumpets, as well as drums. The overall feeling that this piece evokes is one of excitement and positivity. Whenever I listen to this song, it automatically makes me feel happy and makes me want to dance, mostly because of its upbeat and funky style. The image that this song creates is one in which a group of people are celebrating something, dancing and enjoying each other’s company. Due to its title, I picture the members of No BS! Brass Band, a large Richmond-based band writing this song one night at 3am while jamming together and enjoying the process of creating a piece of music that is representative of their thoughts and feelings as musicians.

Making Activity: Wearing the Weather Designs

In class on April 24, 2018, we participated in a design challenge to create a paper doll with outfits for spring, summer, fall, and winter. The challenge involved both art and engineering aspects because we focused on creating aesthetically pleasing outfits, while also ensuring that the doll was free standing and that the outfits could be easily attached and detached from the doll.

Attached are the photos of my group’s paper doll.

Spring outfit: rain poncho


Summer outfit: swimsuit top, skirt, and surfboard


Fall outfit: festive overalls


Winter outfit: tacky Christmas sweater with scarf and hat

Making Activity: 3D Lesson

In class on April 10, 2018, we designed and printed our own 3D artifact that could be used in a lesson. I chose to make a clock to allow students to practice telling time. I designed the clock without the hour and minute hands because I would either 3D print them or make them separately so that they could be easily manipulated. My lesson would first introduce the clock and its parts—the numbers, the shorter hand (hour hand), and the longer hand (minute hand). I would explain that you read the shorter hand first to find the hour and then the longer hand to find the minutes. I would also tell the students that the minute hand moves in increments of five minutes and that one complete rotation around the clock means one hour has passed. After introducing the basics of the clock and telling time, I would have my students practice modeling different times. I would give them a time (i.e. 4:30) and allow them to model it using the detachable hour and minute hands. I could then assess the students’ understanding by placing the hands at a certain time and having them tell me the time.

Attached is the digital file for the design of my 3D clock.

Multi-cultural Education: Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary

This week, we watched Laura Simon’s Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary, which focuses on a Los Angeles elementary school with a large illegal immigrant student population and the passing of Proposition 187, a law which prohibits illegal immigrants from gaining access to public education and healthcare. After watching this documentary, I felt disheartened by the lack of care and respect for those who have immigrated to the United States for more opportunities and a better life. I was especially appalled by many of the Hoover teachers’ lack of empathy for their students, the majority of whom were undocumented and were forced to live their daily lives in fear of being deported, harassed, or even killed in their own neighborhoods. Furthermore, the teachers refused to reach out to the parents in the hopes of improving the educational environment for their students. It was sad to see the students’ reactions to Proposition 187 and its effects on their life in the United States because it was clear that they felt helpless—all they wanted was to get an education and be successful, yet they were denied many of the rights that natural-born Americans were granted.

Although this documentary touched on serious, distressing issues, it also helped me consider the ways in which I will celebrate cultural diversity within my classroom and school. As a future educator, I plan to reach all of my students by encouraging students to share the different aspects of their identity and how they intersect to make them who they are. I will do so by sharing my cultural background and making the classroom a safe and respectful environment for students. I will also introduce my students to cultures with which they are unfamiliar in order to help them be more empathetic towards others. As far as bridging socio-economic divides in the classroom, I think arts integration can play a role because it would allow students to express themselves in a way in which they feel comfortable.

The most shocking part of this documentary was learning that many of the teachers at Hoover Elementary, including those who were immigrants themselves, voted in favor of Proposition 187. Although I can understand that teachers were concerned about overcrowded schools and crime rates in these poverty-stricken communities, I cannot understand why they would want to fail their students. Teachers are meant to guide and support students, especially those who have immigrated from other countries to gain more opportunities. They are not meant to restrict and disrespect their students, which in my opinion, is what some of the Hoover teachers were doing by voting for the passing of Proposition 187.

This illustration by Michael Korfhage of TIME Magazine focuses on how the immigrant’s fate is everyone’s because the success of immigrants relates to the success of America and vice versa. I chose this image to connect what I learned from Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary because I like its simple, yet powerful message. The Statue of Liberty’s torch represents the freedom of living in America and the hands represent the different races/ethnicities, backgrounds, beliefs, etc. of those living in America. Regardless of cultural background, all people should be able to live in the United States and have the same rights, such as public education, healthcare, and other basic services.

This illustration is from an article in TIME Magazine by Viet Thanh Nguyen entitled The Immigrant’s Fate is Everyone’s, which I also enjoyed reading.

Collaborative Art Projects

In this week’s reading, Dr. Goldberg focuses on collaborative art projects, which benefit both arts organizations within the community and nearby schools. As mentioned in last week’s reading, providing students with opportunities and resources that regularly engage the arts is important in terms of creating a positive and enjoyable classroom environment. Richmond is an especially good place for organizations and schools to collaborate because it is not only rich with culture, but it also has a large arts community. A few of the arts organizations supported by the Richmond community include museums, musicians/festivals, art galleries, murals, etc. Bringing individual artists and arts-oriented organizations into the classroom would allow students to build relationships with artists by learning more about the process of art and its importance, as well as gain inspiration and creativity for creating their own unique pieces of art. In the Richmond community, I believe that schools would benefit from collaborating with the VCU Arts program. This would not only allow the students to learn more about art and how it can be integrated into their learning, but it would also provide motivation for the students to make a goal of attending college. Another organization in Richmond that collaborates with schools in the area is ART 180, which provides children and young adults who are living in difficult situations an opportunity to express themselves through art. This organization and others that support art in the community, as well as individual artists, could collaborate with students in an effort to build a sense of community and positive change through the arts.

The Arts and Artists in Your Community

Resources that would be helpful in creating a classroom culture which engages with the arts regularly would be arts organizations and galleries. Arts organizations could provide students with opportunities to engage with the arts and encourage their creativity, especially by forming partnerships with teachers. Teachers could invite artists into their classroom to teach students about a particular form of art, as well as ways to integrate the arts into the curriculum. I remember an arts organization from my hometown, Academy Center for the Arts, coming to my elementary school to talk about different forms of art, performing a few scenes from their play, and providing the students with an opportunity to come tour the Academy. Opportunities such as these, where students can learn about art forms and their roles within the community, are helpful in encouraging students to engage with the arts more often and even advocate for integrating the arts into their learning.

Other ways that teachers and schools could help create an arts-focused classroom culture would be to collaborate with university art departments, as Dr. Goldberg mentioned in this chapter. For example, schools in Richmond have the opportunity to work alongside VCU Arts, one of the top art schools in the country! Arts undergraduate and graduate students could visit schools to teach students about the process of art and its important role in learning and practicing skills, such as patience, discipline, and self-confidence. This would also allow students to be introduced to different forms of art, ranging from sculpture to photography to painting and printmaking to textiles. Having opportunities to engage with people who are passionate about making art allows students to understand how integrating the arts into curriculum can make learning more rewarding and enjoyable!

Assessment and the Arts

Our activity in class last week focused on creating sculptures that related to three different content areas and SOLs. If I were the teacher, I would assess the Squishy Circuits activity by focusing on the three aspects of art assessment that Dr. Goldberg discussed in Chapter 10—technique, content, and intellectual behavior. In this particular exercise, the students’ technique could be assessed by analyzing the ways in which they used the Play-Doh, clay, lightbulbs, and battery to create their sculpture. This would include their understanding that Play-Doh conducts electricity, whereas clay doesn’t, in relation to how they choose to construct their sculpture. For example, for my group’s math sculpture, we used Play-Doh for the numbers on the clock so that students would be able to practice telling time. If we wanted to demonstrate to students that a particular time was incorrect, we could use clay for the numbers so that they wouldn’t conduct electricity and therefore, wouldn’t light up. The content of the students’ sculpture could be assessed by determining whether their artwork aligns with an SOL or a particular content area. The simplest way to assess the content in this way would be to have the students state the SOL and explain its connection to their sculpture. For example, my group’s sculpture for science was unclear at first; therefore, it would have been more helpful to include the SOL and explain its significance in detail. Lastly, the intellectual behavior of the students during this activity could be assessed by observing each group and making note of student participation and cooperation during the process of making the sculpture. This would include aspects such as active listening, inquiring when something is unclear, and organizing ideas in order to produce a piece of art that is representative of the whole group’s understanding of the material.

I believe that the activity gives enough opportunities for students to show their learning because it allows students to focus on a particular content area and whether their representation of the concept is accurate. This activity could be used as a form of summative assessment if the teacher gave the students a content area or SOL on which to focus, rather than allowing the students to choose. In this activity, the end product is important because it can re-used or built upon to practice different forms of understanding and for different forms of assessment. Although the end product is important, the process of creating and learning is just as important because the students are able to engage both with the material and with one another to create a representation of their collective knowledge. Having students collaborate with their peers is often, though not always, an effective method of assessment because students are able to learn from one another and practice skills such as active listening and cooperation.

Math and the Arts

Upon considering the integration of art in teaching mathematical concepts, I came across the idea of having students create tessellations to teach geometry. This particular lesson would teach students about the concepts of geometrical shapes and patterns, as well as allow them to use their creativity to produce a piece of art that represents their understanding. Students could create their tessellation projects in one of two ways—by hand using methods such as origami or drawing or on the computer using software such as GeoGebra or Silhouette and the digital fabricator to create and print the design. I believe it would be most useful for students to create a tangible piece of art in order to be able to understand the concepts being taught. It would also be neat to put all of the finished products up on the wall in the classroom in order for the students to take pride in their creations!

The first picture is a tessellation of fish and the second picture is a tessellation of hexagons I created on GeoGebra in my Geometry class. One positive aspect of creating tessellations to incorporate art and teach mathematical concepts is that students have the opportunity to choose and execute their design however they wish!

Making Activity: Squishy Circuits

In class on March 20, 2018, we created three sculptures using Play-Doh, clay, and electrical circuits. Each of the three sculptures focused on a different content area and SOL—science, math, and history.

My group’s first sculpture relates to VA Science SOL 4.3, which focuses on the understanding of electricity. Our sculpture represents Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite experiment through which he better understood lightning and electricity. We chose to light up the lightning bolt with the lightbulbs to illustrate how lightning struck the kite, which conducted the electricity through the string into the key. Students would be able to use this visual to understand how electricity works and the difference between conductors and insulators.

My group’s second sculpture relates to VA Math SOL 1.8, which focuses on the understanding of telling time using analog and digital clocks. Our sculpture represents an analog clock with an hour hand and a minute hand. Students would be able to use this visual to practice telling time correctly. The lights can be adjusted to turn on when the student has illustrated the correct time and off when the student has illustrated the incorrect time (using clay, which is not a conductor of electricity).

My group’s third sculpture relates to VA History SOL 1.4, which focuses on recognizing map symbols and the identifying the shapes of the United States and Virginia. Our sculpture represents the state of Virginia with the lightbulb on our capital, Richmond. We also created a compass with North, South, East, and West directions. Students would be able to use this visual to identify different places on a map, as well as their significance—important people and events that occurred at these specific places.