Agency by Design – Presentation at Glenview Elementary

APRIL 13, 2016 at Glenview Elementary School

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Participants: Teachers – Kevin Ingersoll/Dewey; Deborah Green/Oakland Tech; Michelle Lewis/Glenview/James Treacy/Skyline; Kristen Vetterlein/Grass Valley; Deborah Gordon/Castlemont; Ana Ponce/Skyline; Nestor Gonzales/Bunche; Carla Oden/Skyline; Don Greene/Melrose; Ericka Duke/West Oakland Middle School; Carl Barone/Roosevelt; Julianne Sterling/ProArts; Claudia Goodman-Hough/Redwood; Facilitators: Presenter – Brooke Toczylowski/OUSD Agency by Design; Ann Wettrich/OUSD VAPA Team Consultant.

Big thanks tFullSizeRendero Michelle Lewis who hosted our session at Glenview and provided a wonderful array of snacks!

  1. Brief Intros & Nuggets. Current focus, explorations, and inquiry questions shared included:
  • Meeting each student where they are
  • Exploring the role that art plays in our community
  • Exploring mediums, genres and tactile experiences
  • Upcoming WASC meeting: How to present student work and curriculum so that it is recognized and understood?
  • Meeting needs of diverse students
  • Self portrait unit: “Look before you draw” building observation skills
  • Weaving with cardboard
  • Process focus
  • Automaton – making with cardboard cranks
  1. Parts, Purposes, Complexities – Brooke Toczylowski

Brooke began by saying a little about her background as a visual artist, teacher and researcher and her interests in interdisciplinary thinking and making thinking visible leading to her work with Agency by Design(ABD) with OUSD and Harvard’s Project Zero. Brooke was part of an ABD’s initial Oakland cohort group of 25 teachers where she explored “Maker Empowerment” as a dispositional shift—sensitivity to design of objects and systems with a desire to “hack it.”  She discussed the new visual arts standards that align with this way of thinking and mentioned another go-to resource: Olivia Gude’s Bricolage Curriculum and Next Generation Standards, and Spiral Arts Education Site (check out the “Cool Curriculum”) that advance a visual arts education shift in emphasis in three core areas:

  • Experimentation over Skills
  • Investigation over Expression
  • Choice over Demonstrations of Knowledge

Introducing today’s workshop that puts these shifts into play, Brooke disseminated and reviewed the ABD information handout describing its aims, principles and thinking routines, including a chart that emphasizes the three core capacities: 1) Looking closely; 2) Exploring Complexity; 3) Finding Opportunity. Moving us quickly from theory to action, Brooke engaged everyone in the thinking routine: Parts, Purposes and Complexities.

We broke up into small collaborative table groups with paper, tools and markers and an object (i.e. lamp, answering machine, door lock). Our task was to explore the object as a group in stages first by drawing, then deconstructing, diagramming, labeling, discussing purposes and relationships of parts, brainstorming redesign and new inventive possibilities.

Debrief: Via a gallery walk, we observed the strategies and thinking of each table group. We then had a short debrief discussion of highlights and takeaways that included:

  • great way to engage collaboration—magic time, getting ideas from each other
  • appreciated the latitude and invention involved in naming the parts, brainstorming terminology—no one was wrong
  • diversity of investigation and emergent research strategies in action
  • opportunity for embedding vocabulary—different shapes, colors, forms
  • discovery of “house within a house” never ending story quality of the experience
  • wanted to go deeper but would need to plan more time and tools to make this possible
  • new ideas generated: 1) one group would be charged with taking the object apart and another group would be charged with putting the object back together or creating something entirely new from the parts; 2) thinking about different kinds of objects to take apart—i.e. old apple computers to understand the underpinnings of technology—its electrical and mechanical parts–OR deconstructing a piece of fruit or food item.
  1. Announcements & Opportunities: See CALENDAR for further info and links
  • Reminder – OUSD Arts Incentive Grants deadline: May 16
  • Student Voices Summit, Screening and Free Master Classes for 7-12th grade Students at SFAI: April 30, 12:30 – 5:00
  • Art Esteem exhibition: The Bravery of Love and Legacy; Sat, May 28
  • California Thru My Eyes Photo Contest / high school students deadline May 6
  • East Bay Maker Education Meet Ups – next meeting April 28th
  • On-going Integrated Learning Specialist Program: provides K-12 teachers and teaching artists research-based frameworks and practice-proven strategies for supporting culturally-responsive arts-integrated teaching across the curriculum.
  1. Next Meeting – Wed, May 11 – Will meet with the larger OUSD visual and performing arts teacher group – Location TBD. We will celebrate this year and plan for next year.

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