Campbell students increasingly employ formats and standards from the professional world to deepen the connection between the arts and other subjects.
In recent years, our journey towards greater authenticity has also been coupled with one of improved craftsmanship. The work has taken students out into the world to participate in fieldwork and meet with experts in order to create their own work with a level of professionalism that promotes greater pride and reflection. Much of the students’ improvement in craftsmanship can be attributed to greater integration of technology, understanding the importance of multiple drafts in their technical drawings, and increased authenticity in photography.
Students as Authors
Students use the professional writing process from building knowledge to prewriting, drafting, conferring, revising, editing and finally making their writing public. Fifth graders gained background knowledge from the children’s book Passage to Freedom and crafted literary essays related to a theme in the book.
Research about various simple machines as well as fieldwork at area playgrounds gave 3rd graders the knowledge they needed to create a writing product with an authentic audience beyond the walls of their classroom.
All Campbell 5th graders write a reflection piece that is read at the 5th grade promotion ceremony. Students write about how they have grown and changed while at Campbell. In 2018, a group of Campbell 5th graders collaborated to come up with a theme and title for the cover of their passage speeches. Their speeches were published in a document resembling a literary magazine and distributed to attendees at the promotion ceremony. The cover artists completed multiple drafts during a series of meetings and feedback sessions to produce the high quality cover which contained the speeches in their final iteration after having undergone multiple drafts and revisions.
Students routinely enter local writing contests and are often published in local news media. This student won a local WETA writing contest. WETA was founded by our namesake Elizabeth Campbell, and has a special connection to our school. Click image for larger view.
Students as Scientists – Grade 1
During the 1st grade Fall Expedition 2018, “Courtyard Scientists”, students learned about the animals in Campbell’s courtyard through observation and research. Students were tasked with using that knowledge to inform others about the animals they studied. Technical drawings were created of those subjects as students gave each other descriptive feedback during drafting and revising cycles to improve the craftsmanship of their pieces. Through this process, students developed a more respectful relationship with nature and realized their capacity to value it and share its value with others. They created fact cards on the iPad using the online publication program, Wixie. They typed their text as a professional would and utilized the final draft of their technical drawings in the presentation.
Students created a pamphlet which is still shared with prospective parents who visit Campbell to inform them about the courtyard. 1st grade pamphlet Through this process students also had the opportunity to participate in peer reviews to improve their technical drawings.
Students as Botanists – Grade 4
In the spring of 2016, 4th grade students explored ways our new Campbell greenhouse could benefit our school by extending the growing season in our courtyard. After researching seeds, growing seasons, and greenhouses, students created a manual for their final product. Each member of the collaborative team explained a piece of the process involved with creating and maintaining a greenhouse. Their written pieces were typed, printed, cut out and glued on the pages alongside with colored pencil drawings. The manuals were shared with other schools that were interested in creating and maintaining a garden area. In addition, manuals were available to future students at Campbell so they could maintain and expand the greenhouse and garden area. An example of a page from the Greenhouse Manual is on the right.
To learn more about authentic greenhouses, Campbell students also visited the APS Career Center greenhouse to learn about hydroponic gardening. This APS Green Scene video documents the building of the greenhouse and the related field work.
In the spring of 2017 and 2018, plants remained the focus and an entire expedition was dedicated to a deep study of one edible plant. The first was “Big Bad Basil” and the next year following was “The Secret Life of Cilantro”. Students conducted fieldwork at the School of Culinary Arts in order to learn about how chefs use ingredients in recipes to create culinary masterpieces. Students focused on growing basil and cilantro to create a salad dressing that was distributed in cafeterias throughout Arlington schools.
Then for their writing product, students researched a fruit, vegetable or herb of their choice and created individual magazine pages focused on both informing our community about various plant foods, and convincing them of the plant’s value. A professional photographer taught students how to digitally photograph the vegetable or herb they were researching for their magazine article. Students viewed compelling models of work from the professional world to help them envision what they might create. It was important for students to take and use their own original photographs, rather than “cutting and pasting” photos from the internet. The student magazine also showcased the complex in the application of higher order thinking skills which were required to pique the interest of the magazine’s readers so they might consider eating or cooking with the plants featured.
Pages from the Plant Magazine 2017-2018
Star Fruit Blackberries Cocoa Bean Plums Back Cover
Students as Designers – Grade 5 (Submitting to National Conference 2020)
Fifth graders used technical drawings, technology, and fieldwork during their Fall, 2018 expedition. They focused on learning about the the value of the many organisms living in Campbell’s outdoor classroom in an expedition entitled, “Campbell’s Kingdom”. Their compelling question was, “How can we leave a mark on a place that has left its mark on us?” Students decided one way for them to leave their mark on Campbell, was to create professional placards in the courtyard to inform our community about the organisms inhabiting those spaces.
During fieldwork, students visited a local business area and a nature center in Arlington to examine a variety of placards which could serve as models of excellence. They studied the dimensions and layout of the placards in the community from which to model their own. Each student created a prototype of an individual placard about an organism in our outdoor classroom they researched to be featured in a resource manual.
The placard to the right was created by a Campbell student for use in our courtyard after researching an organism in our pond. Then all three 5th grade classes worked to create a placard for what they deemed as the three most important organisms in the Campbell outdoor classroom. Students collaborated in small groups to create their final product. Based on their interest and expertise, one group focused on the writing, another group concentrated on editing text, while a third group coordinated the production of technical drawings. Each class made their own design choices as they planned the layout of the placard. Students created photographs using professional techniques for the placards as well. At the showcase, students taught their parents how to make technical drawings. The details featured in the technical drawings represent acquired content knowledge.
Click image for larger view.
Students used the peer critique protocol multiple times to receive kind, specific, and helpful feedback from their peers. This atmosphere of respect helped all students feel safe to make mistakes which in turn strengthened their learning – Peer critique video. Students were able to reflect on the placard they were creating by using the Organism Placard Rubric. The final class placards created by the 5th grade classes were professionally produced, and will be installed in our outdoor classroom for our school community to learn from for years to come.
Students as Artists
Student artists use the creative process to produce high quality artwork. In art class, instruction includes the application of shading and use of perspective. Students craft artist statements to communicate with authentic audiences.
Students apply the skill of using perspective as they engage in planning and decision-making of the bicycle water color project.
Practicing how to use a viewfinder to change perspective
Planning and drafting using a viewfinder
Final product and artist’s statement
Visiting artists serve as local experts and models of excellence for Campbell students. Jeremy Mack, a local architect, worked with the 5th grade students to use mathematics and clay to create a relief map of the Wetlands. This yearlong project involved many steps, revisions, and the integration of content areas.
Campbell students have embraced an increased use of technical drawings as part of expeditions and other units of study. The process of drafting, reflecting, and revising has been applied to tasks across disciplines. Whether it is creating technical drawings during an expedition, drafting exemplary pieces of writing, or crafting artistic masterpieces, students at Campbell go through a process of multiple drafts to ensure their work is of high quality. Using high quality products from the professional world enables students to learn about content more deeply and to observe how professionals use academic skills in the real world. Through the use of technical drawings, students are better able to focus on technical details in their work and apply academic knowledge. Fifth grade students created anchor charts to teach others understand the process of creating technical drawings.
Grade 1 Technical Drawings with Peer Review
During the 1st grade Fall Expedition of 2018, Courtyard Scientists, students gave each other descriptive feedback during drafting and revising cycles to improve the craftsmanship of their pieces.
Grade 3 Architectural Drawings
During the 3rd Grade expedition, “Trade on the River,” students learned about the architecture of ancient cultures and chose one to draw. Each student used their model and feedback to improve upon their drawing through multiple drafts and a final reflection. Students were excited about the opportunity to pursue challenging work and expressed pride in their accomplishments. Student work shows the content they learned about ancient architecture. (For example, which raw materials were used to build in ancient times.)