By Katy Ritter
Gastineau Elementary, 4th Grade
I was scheduled to use the 4th grade elementary art kit, Centennial Bridge, but I’d never used it before. I didn’t check it out with a purpose to integrate it into our current social studies or science units of study, but I was excited to try an Artful Thinking Routine that would add some depth to our discussion, and hopefully deepen students’ engagement in the lesson. I decided that I would begin by showing the photographs of the Gastineau Channel/Douglas Bridge included in the kit, and use the Think/Puzzle/Explore routine. I hoped that showing the photographs without telling any information would invite students to try to build a narrative about the history of transportation in Juneau.
I displayed the photographs on my whiteboard tray at the front of the room, and asked students to look at them carefully and quietly without talking.
I began with the question, “What do you THINK you know about this topic?” Some of their responses:
Students seemed to understand that all of the photographs were connected, and they were telling a sequential story of the transportation used in the Gastineau channel. Then I asked, “What questions or puzzles do you have?
And the final question: "What does this artwork or topic make you want to explore?"
Students were very engaged and excited to find out that the reason the old bridge was replaced was because it was too small for the growing population and the new bridge is larger (this could be linked to why the roundabout was built about ten years ago!) They commented on the structure of each bridge and the difference in design, wondering why the old bridge had more artistic detail.
I introduced the photographs of the Centennial bridge and we compared it to the Douglas Bridge. We determined that it looks like a pedestrian bridge, which is why the art decorating the two sides of the bridge is in the footpath. We looked carefully at the symbolic images placed on either side of the bridge and thought about the difference between art that is functional (like a bridge, which has a form and a function) and the Centennial bridge, that includes style which carries symbolic MEANING.
Students then created abstract bridges with 100 pieces of colored paper, creating patterns and lines. The results are as different as my students--each created their own pattern or arrangement of color and shape on the page.
by Davin Savikko
Riverbend Elementary, Kindergarten
I will share the story of how I used the SEE/THINK/WONDER routine when I brought 6 salmon into my kindergarten class.
I love this routine for its simplicity: What do you see? What do you think you know (in this case about salmon)? And what does this make you wonder?
This routine is a great way to get my students more engaged with a piece of art – or in this case – a topic (salmon).
I started out by laying a number of salmon (both Pink and King) around the room on tables. Actually, I started by giving my kids a direct order: “You can’t say ‘Ew!’ – you have to say, ‘Cool’– or something like that." (Unfortunately, that order was not as successful as the use of the SEE/THINK/WONDER routine…but it was pretty funny to hear the kids continually saying ‘Ew!’ and then have 20 other kids yell at them not to say that). Kids were then encouraged to move throughout the room to touch, draw and talk about what they see/notice about the salmon.
We then regrouped at the front of the room and I posed the question “What do you think you know about salmon?”. I recorded the kids thinking on butcher paper.
The kid’s thoughts ranged in complexity – from simple thoughts and details:
“I think tails help fish swim” and “If they don’t live in water they will die”
To more in depth details:
“The fin right here (points to gills) helps the salmon breathe” and “I think they (salmon) have slime on them so if they go in a seal’s mouth they can slip right out”.
That is another thing I really like about using this thinking routine – it allows for multiple entry points for kids depending on their observational skills and/or prior knowledge.
Some of the ‘thinking’ was very literal about what they saw from the salmon in the room:
“King salmon have dots on their bodies” and other ‘thinking’ obviously came from prior knowledge the student had come in with “You can only keep a King Salmon if it’s size is big enough”.
The student’s comments would often build off the comments of their peers. Sometimes it would directly contradict what a classmate had just stated – for instance, right after the claim about the gills helping a fish breathe, another student made the claim:
“I think that that fin (points to rear fin) goes under their body and helps it breathe”.
All thoughts were recorded by me, word for word, with no corrections or judgements.
I then took a different piece of butcher paper and posed the question, “What do you wonder about salmon?” Like the “I think I know” process, some of the wonderings were related to what the students actually observed from the salmon in the room, while others were from prior knowledge or wonderings in general.
“I wonder what that little fin on top does?”
“I wonder how salmon can breathe under water?”
“I wonder how old fish are?”
After all the ‘Wonderings’ were recorded I grouped the students around me for the dissection of a few salmon.
It was only at this time did I reveal/deliver any of information about salmon – a good 30 minutes into the lesson. All previous talk had been strictly kid generated. Every student in my class was engaged. How often can I say that?
The dissected salmon were then put back on tables and students were encouraged to engage in the same process we used to start the routine – touching, talking and drawing what they saw.
by Maura Selenak
Harborview Elementary, Kindergarten
I learned a routine called Pass the Portrait at a recent inservice with Melanie Rick, an instructor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. To play Pass the Portrait, students are seated in a circle, facing a partner. Before beginning, students must show the place between them where they will be placing the piece of art (this is an important step because it helps avoid conflicts). In the game, students are taught how to “read” a portrait by discussing things like facial expression, gesture, and focal point. The teacher places a printed portrait in the predesignated spot between each pair of students. The students have one minute to discuss the picture before the teacher starts counting down aloud- “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, pass….the….portrait….!” The expectation is that students will wrap up their discussion by the time the teacher gets to 1, then will pass the portrait to the next pair by the time she finishes saying “pass the portrait”. The teacher moves amongst the students during the discussions, pulling out ideas and writing them on the board to reference later. This routine quickly gets students engaged- there is art in their hands!- and discussing with one another.
I used Pass the Portrait to teach my kindergartners the routine and expectations for the game- they are seated, they are talking in quiet voices, they are expected to work with anyone in the class, they finish their conversation by the time I get to 1, and they pass the portrait clockwise. After teaching them this routine, I realized the sky was the limit!
For example, we used the routine at the beginning of the Ray Troll art kit. I printed out 15 images of Ray Troll Fish. We began the lesson by looking at one piece of exemplar art on the board and identified colors, lines, patterns, and shapes. We were then ready to play “Pass the Artwork”. We used the exact same routine as Pass the Portrait, except students were looking at Ray Troll images, and they were picking out colors, lines, patterns, and shapes. The discussions were rich, and when it came time for students to create their own artwork, they were inspired and had concrete ideas of what kinds of lines, shapes, colors, and patterns they could use.
In another instance, I used the Pass the Portrait routine at the beginning of the Rainbow Flower Garden Art Kit. The kit comes with many colorful artificial flowers. We used used exemplar art to identify flower parts before students played “Pass the Flower” with the artificial flowers. The objective for their discussions during Pass the Flower was to identify flower parts (stem, leaves, flower) and describe the flower (it has 5 petals, it is colorful, it has one long green leaf, etc.)
by Joanna Hinderberger
Gastineau School, 1st Grade
Before going into one of my Artful Teaching lessons, I want to take a moment to admit how impressed I am with this new way of teaching. As I started integrating Artful Teaching into my practice, I realized how important, yet basic and easy it is to do. Honestly, I must admit that I am a little shocked that I have not always taught this way. I had completely overlooked the importance of explicitly teaching kids how to think. I expected this to be a skill that kids would just know what to do when I said, “think about it.” Now, I have learned that by giving my students the tools they need to “think,” they have become much more critical thinkers and incredibly curious about their world. My classroom culture is now built around student thinking. Students have learned to critically think about new topics when I introduce them by using the skills of:
Okay, enough chit chat, let’s get into one of the lessons. Sea Week was one specific area that I wanted to focus on, and I especially wanted to integrate art, science, and writing. I have found that for first grade students, it can be challenging to take another’s perspective. This is something that we work on for developing social skills. I first chose to conduct an informal assessment to gain some information on what the students already know about low tide beaches and creatures in Southeast. I also wanted to figure out what it was that they were interested in learning about.
In order to do this, I gathered students on the carpet and explained that we would be starting a new science unit on sea creatures. I used the Artful Thinking Routine Step Inside as a way for the children to demonstrate what they already know about the beach. I had them close their eyes and imagine walking off the bus, arriving at the beach, and exploring the low tide. I had them imagine what the beach would sound like, look like, feel like, and smell like. After allowing students to use their imaginations, I had them go to their seats and draw and write about each of the senses that they think they would experience at the beach. I prepared student books using two pieces of paper that have lines on the bottom and blank space on the top for drawing. The papers were folded in half so that there were four spaces for four senses. I labeled each page for each sense (look, smell, feel, and sound) with an icon to help the students stay focused on the task. I have found that scaffolding thinking into a focused area can often encourage more writing than given a broad topic. I asked the students to write their thinking, meaning any thing that they think is true, as well as any questions or wonderings they might have. Students were given time to write and draw to express what they already think they know to be true and then ask questions that I could use as a way to plan.
by Tracy Goldsmith
Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School
My 8th grade Language Arts class students studied the Holocaust. They were assigned different Holocaust novels to read and they participated in literature circles using those novels. We started the unit by using the Step Inside Artful Thinking Routine with this image;
This is an image of Otto Frank, on the opening day of the Anne Frank House as a museum in Amsterdam. I asked students to stand up and quietly place themselves into the same position as the person in this portrait. While they quietly, stood in position looking at the image, I asked them to image what this person might be thinking or feeling. I wanted them to come up with a story about this picture and this man. They stood silently for one minute and then they had to write a journal entry answering the same questions. Some student responses are below:
The unit involved many different activities related to the Holocaust. One resource we used extensively was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website (www.ushmm.org). To extend the Artful Thinking routine of “Step Inside,” the students were assigned a portrait and first person narrative project. They started by finding one victim or survivor whose story they wanted to explore more on the USHMM website. There is a link on the website that shows ID cards with pictures and information about victims and survivors. After finding a person that they wanted to study more, students had to read the information about them and then turn that into a first person narrative. This first person narrative would be read out loud to the class later in the unit. The activity of writing in first person really stretched their understanding of what an individual was experiencing during the Holocaust. Being able to read it out loud to an audience, made that story come alive. Many students were emotionally touched by the narrative readings.
By Kris Dorsey
Gastineau Community School, 1st Grade
Science – absolutely, Writing – of course, Reading – yep...I’ve challenged myself to integrate many different Artful Thinking routines with the instructional content in my first grade class this year. Well, all except math… I’ve avoided it long enough, I suppose. I turned my teacher’s guide to our newest chapter. Math In Focus, Chapter 15 – Calendar and Telling Time.
How do we measure time?... Seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades...
How do we keep track of those units of measure?.. Timers, watches, phones, clocks, calendars…
What do the kids really need to know and how will they learn it best?... They need to develop a sense of time – how many seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month, months in a season, months/seasons in a year - and be able to compare those units of time. But what parts have to be experienced? The passage of time, the development of what an hour feels like compared to five hours, how it feels to wait a year for your next birthday, what mom actually means when she says there are only 10 minutes before bedtime... these are not things we can tell them; these are things they have to experience and connect with...these ideas about time must be constructed within the learner.
Sure, we need to help kids have access to the social knowledge pieces - like there are 60 seconds in a minute or that the third day of a week has a name and it's called Tuesday. These bits of information cannot be constructed within the learner alone through experiences. They have to be told from one person to another…because, in Japan, the third day of the week is called Kayobi...you wouldn't know that until somebody told you, no matter how many Tuesdays go by in Tokyo. These are the direct instruction pieces; the pieces I have to reveal to them.
But what connections can we make about telling time with an Artful Thinking routine? How can we use Artful Thinking and art experiences to assess what children already know or have learned about reading clocks? How can we make the learning engaging and meaningful?
Prior to introducing the new chapter, I told the kids we were going to do a "See, Think, Wonder" Thinking Routine for several pictures. First, I pulled out a photo of a sundial and didn't say anything while they looked carefully and thought about it.
Then, I asked them to quietly turn and share with a partner the things that they saw and thought about. I asked a few volunteers to share out their ideas and anything they wondered. Here are a few quotes after looking at the sundial:
"Maybe it's a time machine."
"I noticed some letters on the circle part."
"There's a shadow from the sun."
"I wonder why there is a shark fin on it in the middle?"
Next, I pulled out a photo of an ancient water clock (used to measure time at night) and repeated the "See, Think, Wonder" routine:
"Maybe it's an ancient bowl."
"I see Egypt writing on it – hiro, helo, hieroglyphs? I don't know what they're called, but it's Egypt picture writing."
"It looks like a bowl with water in it and it has a hole in the bottom."
"I wonder if it's for drinking water or taking a shower?"
Then, I pulled out a photo of an hourglass and repeated the routine:
"I have one of those at home"
"I think it's a timer."
"I have a small one in my game at home."
"It has sand in it and when it runs out, you turn it over to start it."
"I use one when I brush my teeth so I know how long I have to brush."
"I wonder how long it takes for the sand to run out from the top?"
The next photo to be revealed with the thinking routine was an analog clock:
"That's a clock!"
"We have those kinds in here – right over there (pointing to the classroom analog clocks)."
"I don't know how much time is on it."
"I think it shows ten-eight."
The last photo I brought out was a digital clock (akin to the Velcro shoe – most kids can figure it out without any help!)
"I have that kind. It's an alarm clock."
After they had discussed all the photos, I asked them, "Why do you think I put all these photos together?" Here are some things that they said,
"They all have to do with time?"
"Maybe it's about time machines."
"Maybe we're doing it for math?"
"We are going to learn about time."
"We know that these things are time."
"Because you want us to make connections about ways people tell time?"
"It's our math for today."
"Because we are going to be thinking about time and clocks."
I literally got goosebumps. They got it. They understood that unless we know how to "read" the markings or how the device is used to measure time, it's useless to us. The sundial, the water clock and the hourglass were all cool ideas for telling time, but we couldn't read them...we hadn't been taught how to use them to measure the passage of time. That set the stage for our purpose - learning to read an analog clock to measure time. They noticed there are three analog clocks on the walls of our classroom already, but I was the only one in the room who knew how to read them.
What do we think we know about the wind?
"The wind is cold."
"It can blow things."
What puzzles do we have about the wind?
"Where does wind come from?"
"What does it look like?"
What do we think we know about fog?
"The fog is quiet. But you can see it."
"It touches the ground."
There's no fog in Hawaii."
What puzzles do we have about fog?
"What does fog look like? Does it always look the same?"
"What is fog made out of?"
What do we think we know about rain?
"Rain is wet."
"Rain can be really hard or soft and be like slush."
"Rain comes down."
What puzzles do we have about the rain?
"When snowflakes melt, do they become rain?"
"When puddles get made, they are different shapes, but when the sun comes out, do they evaporate?"
A collection of JSD teachers' arts integration classroom experiences