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.

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.

Science and the Arts

I enjoyed most of my science classes throughout school, especially Earth Science and Biology, because my teachers often incorporated art activities to teach the material. Most of the activities involved visual arts, such as sculptures, diagrams, drawings, and pictures. During our unit on the human body, the whole class collaborated on drawing a human body on a large scroll of paper and labelling the parts of the body, as well as the parts of the heart. This activity helped me better understand the human body, but I also enjoyed being able to interact with my classmates and put our knowledge together to complete the activity. Another art-making activity I remember doing in my Biology class was creating a sculpture of an animal and presenting it in front of the class. We were able to choose any animal and use any materials to create our sculpture, so I chose a hummingbird. I used wire to create the foundation for the hummingbird and then covered it in green and yellow clay. I then attached the hummingbird to a wooden base so it could stand easily. In my presentation, I explained the characteristics of a hummingbird, including lifespan, reproduction, migration patterns, and fun facts. This activity helped me learn about several different types of animals and their functions in our world.

The activities that I engaged in during my science classes were not as geared towards poetry or music as they were towards the visual arts. I do wish that my teachers had integrated a variety of art forms in order to help the students learn scientific concepts. Since then, music and poetry have made me think about the world in a scientific manner, and I believe that incorporating these forms of art into my science classroom would help students understand the material better and make science a more enjoyable subject overall. In my opinion, music is a great way to learn science because it’s catchy and allows students to be silly and remember information more easily. I remember learning the parts of the body and the order of the planets in our solar system through songs in two popular TV shows growing up—Hannah Montana and Drake & Josh. Experiences such as these can help students relate to the content and understand it more easily.

Literacy and the Arts

Art forms are considered language because they serve as a means of communicating with others through different media, whether it may be painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, writing, etc. As Dr. Goldberg explains in the text, communicating through art is especially beneficial in elementary school classrooms, in which there are culturally diverse students who come from many different backgrounds and often speak different languages.

I believe that the best mode for “playing with language,” and communicating with others, is through picto-spelling. Although I have heard of drawing pictures to represent a word or idea, I was interested to learn more about picto-spelling. I like the idea of using the letters of a word to create an image to represent that word because it not only helps students grow their vocabulary, but it also improves their spelling. In my opinion, picto-spelling is the best art form when it comes to “playing with language” because it allows students to be creative and express how they perceive people, animals, places, and objects through the process of analyzing and drawing representations. This particular art form also encourages students to celebrate their individual differences—each student’s picture is unique and representative of their literacy skills.

My preferred method of learning new language skills is through drama. Being able to read a script, develop a character, and tell his/her story is beneficial in terms of developing literacy and communication skills. Drama is an art form that allows a person to feel emotionally connected to a story through the understanding of another’s thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, etc. While many plays/musicals are developed from a writer’s imagination, others are true stories, often depicting historical events. Drama allows for a deeper understanding of a person and his/her interactions and relationships with others. It serves as an important means of communication and often allows students to expand their knowledge on a particular topic.

In terms of integrating art into the curriculum to teach literacy, as well as adhere to specific standards of learning, I believe that rather than the art form having to be adapted, the method of teaching must be adapted in order for the art to complement the content of the SOL. Students and teachers alike often view SOLs as a component of education that cannot be taught in different ways. The integration of art along with the way in which the material is taught (i.e., the specific art form) provides an opportunity for students to better understand concepts by expressing their thoughts and feelings. I believe that all of the art forms are valuable and can be used for different subjects, depending on the content and the objectives of learning.

Making Activity: Historical Artifacts

In class on February 27, 2018, we focused on planning a lesson related to history/social studies using historical artifacts we created with the digital fabricator. My group decided to focus on early colonial events to help students understand the order in which the events took place and how much time was between the events. Using the digital fabricator, we created visuals of North and South America to represent Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas in 1492, Virginia to represent the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, the Mayflower to represent the Pilgrims arriving to the New World in 1620, the Boston Harbor to represent the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Declaration of Independence to represent its ratification in 1776. On each of the artifacts, we cut out the dates in order to create a visual for students to determine the order in which they took place. Our lesson would start out with having the students create a timeline on the walls around the classroom, especially focusing on mathematically spacing them out in order to understand how much time took place between the events. After the students create the timeline, they would be asked to draw a picture of something that they associate with the event—a person, a place, or something significant that occurred. The content of this particular lesson would be colonial events, the pedagogy would be using the timeline to teach concepts of chronological order and time in between events, and the technology would be the artifacts and rulers to measure the distance between the events. Integrating student-created art, as well as the artifacts created with the digital fabricator would be especially helpful in terms of allowing students to have visual representations to remember important events.

Attached is a photo and the digital files of the artifacts.





Declaration of Independence