How can students be empowered to use the arts to reflect and respond to personal and communal adversity, and use their understanding to create and share artwork with a focus on resilience and healing for themselves and their school community?
Project or Program Summary
Please provide a summary of the project/program as demonstrated in the case study:
The Sandy Relief Arts Education Initiative provided 11 school communities that were affected by Hurricane Sandy with personalized residencies, which focused on how students and teachers can be empowered to use the arts as a means of healing and interdisciplinary learning. This case study will illuminate one of the three school partners that were included in the MetLife Learning for Life Documentation/Assessment/Evaluation research- The Monmouth Beach Elementary School, in Monmouth Beach New Jersey. With guidance from YA teaching artists Eloise Bruce and Kevin Pyle, teachers and students in grades 3rd, 4th and 5th experienced a 10 day residency that explored how words and pictures work together as a form of artistic expression. Students were introduced to the fundamentals of comics and poetry, and created illustrated poems (broadsides) and comics as a way to recall the value that community workers and/or collaborative partnerships played in their township’s recovery during and/or after Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the residency, students in grades K-8 experienced a professional performance by the Experiential Theater Company entitled The Odyssey Experience.
Portfolio Purpose and Rational
Portfolio Purpose and Rationale: Why has this case study been submitted?:
This project is a great example of how the arts can create the time and space to process life experiences while connecting to Language Arts goals and objectives. Students used first person interviews, discussion, pictures and words as a mode of learning that addressed the complexity of personal and communal adversity during and after Hurricane Sandy. Broadsides and comics created by students were professionally published in a text and archived in the school's newly restored library. During a peer to peer sharing each participating student shared his/her work.
What are your overall conclusions regarding the documentation gathered for this case study?:
Throughout the planning, design and facilitation of the residency administration, teachers, and teaching artists showed active participation toward program design, including collaborative efforts to identify curriculum goals, engage in residency days and follow up activities, as well as completing formative and summative assessments. Many participants reported that their comfort level and excitement for working with two professional artist emerged over time. Overall participating teachers agreed that the experience of art making reached many of their students in a different and more effective way then traditional instruction. Both teachers and students reported that working with an artist offered an experience to understand the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career in the arts and brought a sense of wonder and fun to their day. Several students reported that using visual and literary arts as a means of expression provided a safe and fun opportunity to better understand difficult experiences.
What conclusions have you drawn from the responses to the assessment tools you have developed?:
The assessment tools (video taped interviews, online survey questions, and work samples) introduced multiple expressions (verbal,written and practical) as ways to capture the qualitative experiences of participants. In having teaching artists, teachers, students and parents participate in the assessment and documentation process YA was able to capture multiple perspectives. Information gathered was used to redirect the course of the residency, as well as share the participant and teaching artist perspective with funders. It should be noted that at this location parent survey responses were limited, however YA was informed by a teacher that parents did post comments regarding the initiative on an online forum used by parents. Overall the methodology helped to identify common and differentiating themes across grade levels, artforms, and locations as well as provided insight into the new knowledge gained by teachers and students as a result of the initiative. Additional added value of the assessment tools was seen when the teaching artists used the survey and interview questions as discussion prompts with teachers and students.
Answering the Inquiry Question
Back to the initial inquiry question, can it be answered?:
The arts can give teachers and students the time and space to process life experiences while connecting to Language Arts goals and objectives. Teachers and students participating in this residency emerged with practical experiences and an understanding of the unique and effective power the arts have to transform communal adversity. Students were deeply invested in this project because the work emerged from their personal and collective experiences. It should be noted that the work created during this residency provided a historical document that preserved effects of Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the publications from each grade level becoming a part of library circulation at Monmouth Beach Elementary School, copies have been requested by the Monmouth Beach Historical Society.
Conclusions: What Was Learned
What was learned?:
This project was successful because it offered a multi-disciplinary and collaborative working environment for participants. It provided teachers and students the chance to not only learn about the skills and knowledge of graphic novels and poetry, but it showed one way to develop and implement arts integrated learning. Most importantly, students felt a deep sense of empowerment in transforming their experiences during and after Hurricane Sandy into a publication to be shared with the community for years to come.
Conclusions: What Can Be Done Differently In The Future
What can be done differently in the future?:
The process and expense of publication was costly both in time and monetary value. Teachers reported that the editing process prior to publication required an increased investment of their personal time and in some cases caused emotional strain. Graphic Novelist Kevin Pyle contributed many hours beyond his compensated residency days to prepare the work for publication and in response to the school partner wanting students to have access to personal copies of the work, Kevin placed a second order of books for students. In the future YA will explore alternitive forms of publication and identify additional funding to cover the unforseen technical aspects of this initiative.
Conclusions: How Will This Inform The Work Moving Forward
How will this inform the work moving forward?:
YA will encourage teaching artists to use the survey and interview questions as formative assessment throughout future residencies. YA will utilize online archival and sharing tools like Google Docs as a means of immediately sharing video taped interviews, survey results and work samples. The use of google docs, an application that is typically used in schools may also provide a platform for teachers and students to help leverage data collections. For example through the school's google doc accounts teachers and students can easily upload and share data collections with YA staff and teaching artists. The use of google docs may also help with the development of blogs. Although the request for school partners to create an initiative blog was successful at other locations at Monmouth Beach School the request was not developed.
Core Content Standards
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
Craft and Structure
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Production and Distribution of Writing
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Range of Writing
Speaking and Listening:
Comprehension and Collaboration
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Knowledge of Language
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
21st Century Learning Skills
Learning and Innovation / Creativity and Innovation:
Work Creatively with Others
Learning and Innovation / Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
Make Judgments and Decisions
Learning and Innovation / Communication and Collaboration:
Collaborate with Others
Life and Career / Flexibility and Adaptability:
Adapt to Change
Life and Career / Initiative and Self-Direction:
Manage Goals and Time
Be Self-directed Learners
National Core Arts Standards
National Core Arts Standards: