PLP - The Arts and Crafts Team

Team members
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Katie Niven
Bear Creek School,
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Heather Geist
Bear Creek School,
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Jeanette Norton
Bear Creek School,
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Sister Geralyn Schmidt
Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg

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Marybeth Geller
St. Bernadette School,
Drexel Hill


All of the above educators signed up to be a part of the Arts and Craft team because each of us has a passion in one form or another of the arts or of crafts.

When all of us got together in our Elluminate classroom, we began discussing art. Out of this discussion we came up with our essential question:

How can art illustrate a culture of learning?

Objectives and Assessment

Since each of us teaches different grade levels and different curriculum areas, we decided that each of us would answer this quiding question uniquely among our students. We created a wiki and each of us have elements of our process posted there. Our wiki is: PLP Wiki Arts and Crafts. There are several pages on this wiki. Each page is a explanation of how we lead our students in defining this question according to their skill level. This wiki is the place in which we will upload our finished project and share with you all how our students have done.

Implementation Plan

Each of our classes will post an archive of our finished project on our wiki or some type of archive of our finished project. Our projects will be posted on our wikispace.

Evaluation and Results

Marybeth Geller - Culminating Event / Final Evaluation
Students will use geometric shapes to focus on an idea for their creative ideas. All ideas will be collected and compiled into a mural reflective of student culture.
Students have completed this unit and stretched their imagination by producing fabulous pieces of artwork using the power of technology. Famous artist paintings became the basis of assisting students to use their imagination and use geometry concepts to create their own interpretation. Students have gained experience with digital pictures, scanners, drawing, painting with brush/airbrush, adding text, drawing shapes and lines, erase parts of a picture, fill an area with color, copy color to the palette, select an area, copy and paste a selection, magnify an area, select paint tool options, resize drawing area, create custom color, adjust print settings, change word document to a jpg file, draw shapes, scale, move, rotate an object, format shapes using preset styles, format the fill, outline, shadow and 3D effects of shapes, delete an object, adjust object order, delete slide, add text to a slide, apply a design to the slide show, insert a picture onto a slide, resize and relocate slide objects, animate slide objects, view the slides in slide view, slide sorter view and slide show view and apply transitions between slides, to name just a few!

Marybeth Geller - Reflection

This PLP project has given me and my students a wonderful opportunity to learn. Information presented in many textbooks is routine, but this project has allowed for an immersion into learning. The process allowed the students to solidify skills and assist in dynamic learning by providing enriching learning experiences beyond the standards and transcending the needs of every learner – student and teacher. Although this project began as a math unit, it quickly became an interdisciplinary study by allowing students to incorporate math, art, language arts, and even foreign language into 21st century learning paths.

Katie Niven: How can art represent how electricity has effected our society?

Students have worked to discover and unlock the history of electricity. Each group of three students received a 50 year time period, that they had to explore. After discovering the inventors, inventions, and discoveries of that time period they had to connect how these advances have effected our society and culture. Once unlocking the key to our advances, students had to scrapbook these concepts. They included graphics & images, photographs, drawings, and written words. Once the students completed their scrapbook pages, we photographed them and uploaded them to Voicethread. Students then had to narrate each scrapbook page. Taking turns the groups recorded their thoughts and comments on the information they found and scrapbooked. We now have two final products; the physical scrapbook and the digital, annotated scrapbook.

This project has given my students an alternative to the "normal" classroom environment. When I introduced the project many of them did not know how to tackle it. They had numerous questions and wanted me to tell them what to do, and how to do it. I told them as long as they included what they learned in the project, they were doing it the "right" way. I met with groups many times throughout the project and discussed their process and product. Many of them initially started to gather the "who," "what." "where," and "when." They neglected to see the big picture or "HOW" these advances impacted our society? After meeting with each group and discussing the in-depth thinking and analyzing they had to do, the students felt more comfortable and ready to tackle the challenge. Many were excited to see how what happened 100 years ago, affected them today. They began to see the whole picture and really enjoyed the hard work this project required. There were some groups that I struggled to motive, and one that didn't fully embrace and complete the project. I held multiple meeting with this group, but did not feel that this helped them. I was not discouraged by this, and know that they had not done a project like this before therefore, did not know how to tackle the project. They need to be involved in more projects like this, so they feel comfortable to take on these types of activities.

Heather Geist: How does art illustrate a culture of learning? How can art illustrate the culture of a state?

We've had quite a journey in 4th grade creating a project to represent the culture of each of our 50 states. Each of our students has finished the process of researching their state and creating their project. The students then had the opportunity to present their projects to the class. It was really neat for each of them to be able to share their hard work and research.I really think the students got a lot out of the project. They worked through their planning and research on their own with guidance here and there. It was nice to see them take ownership of their own learning. It was also really interesting to see how each student took the project in their own unique direction. It really allowed the students to shine.
Our students are now in the process of collaborating with their peers. The students formed groups to create the regions of the United States based upon what state they already researched. These 5 groups are now "putting their heads together" to create a Google Presentation to showcase the best parts of their region. They are using information they already collected, and new information they are discovering to figure out what makes their region a special part of the United States.
I think one great take away is that each of the students has so much individuality and creativity to add to projects. By doing something so open-ended like we have done, it allowed for individuality to shine. This is something I would not have seen through a simple test.

A video of the process and final project can be found on youtube!

Jeanette Norton:

How does art illustrate a culture of learning? How can art illustrate the culture of a state?

Each of my 54 students were given a state to research. They used this research to learn the overall culture of their state. Then the students designed a representation of this culture on a cut out of their state. The students were free to choose how they wanted to decorate their state and how they wanted to interpret and represent the state culture. Each student presented their state to the class. The next step is where we are now. The students are collaborating in groups. They are grouped according to the region their state belongs in. They are discussing the culture and characteristics of their region and are working collaboratively on GoogleDoc Presentations to present to the class.
It was great to see how excited the kids have been to work on their state projects and group presentations. They were highly interested and actively involved throughout the process. The students responded well to all the aspects of this assignment, which shows how far they have come since the beginning of the year. They are comfortable researching on the internet, they have learned to collaborate as teams and to create organized, informative, and eye-appealing presentations on Google Docs. Besides that, this project really brought out their creativity. They love being able to express themselves though arts and crafts and through creative use of technology. They also enjoy time to collaborate along the way and share what they have learned in the process.
This project covered many of the standards we address in fourth grade. It's been a cross-content project since it addresses social studies, writing, and reading standards. Students were applying their reading strategies as they researched, and as they compared and contrasted the individual states and regions. They made connections from their background knowledge of the US, to what they were learning throughout this process. Hopefully, they have synthesized their learning to create a new understanding of our country. Best of all, the students have been highly motivated! I'd say things turned out well.

Check out the video above to see the process and some final projects!

Sister Geralyn:

How does art illustrate a culture of learning?

Since, in my current position, I do not have the privilege of working with students on a regular basis, I had to “rent” a class from a neighboring high school. The class that was given to me for this project was a Graphic Design II class. The students in the class were juniors and seniors.. As I presented the project question to the class, I got expressions of confusion. These students were not used to a teacher telling them that it was UP TO THEM TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION to a problem. It was indeed painful for the class, who by its very nature, was not very verbal, to define the concepts brought forward to the question. In order to remedy this, we set up a wikispace and began a dialogue with sub-questions. These assisted the students to broaden their understanding of the scope of the project. It was an AH-HA moment when they defined a key component of learning as relational. They never realized that before! They decided to create a photo journal on the relationship of interactions and learning using prezi.
As a visiting teacher, I indeed had a challenge ahead of me. These were not my students and therefore did not share my work ethic. Since I was, “out of the building” some of the deadlines I set were not met. The students tend to be a bit over extended – something I forgot.
I was told by the students that what they most liked about this project was seeing the amazing interactions that go on every day within the school. They began to see the interactions between students, teachers and administration as something truly special!

The Teaser for their project.
Their final project


Recording of Team Meetings
Jan. 9, 2012:
Jan. 30, 2012:
Feb. 27, 2012:
March 5, 2012:
March 12, 2012:
March 19, 2012:
March 26, 2012:
April 16, 2012:
April 30, 2012:

Beginning of process -- our team blog