Exploring a Variation on Classroom Collaboratives

Children work on an art project at tables

Students from Chelsea Prep PS 33 working on their paintings during their Classroom Collaborative. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

Whitney School Programs offers Classroom Collaboratives for K-12 students. In this three-part program, a Museum educator a Museum educator works with the classroom teacher to design a customized program that includes visits to the classroom before and after a museum visit. The first visit introduces students to themes and topics related to the exhibition; the second visit takes place in the Museum’s galleries; the third visit is intended to deepen the experience through art-making and writing activities.
Museum educators have felt that the third part of the program was often not as successful as they would like it to be. The usual thirty- to forty-minute time slot in the classroom was just not enough for an art-making project. More time was required not only for making, but also for sharing and reflecting.

In response, School Programs recently piloted a variation of Classroom Collaboratives with a group of fourth-grade students from Chelsea Prep PS 33, our partnership school. Instead of holding the third part of the program in the classroom, often days after the museum visit, a ninety-minute art-making session took place at the Museum, immediately following the guided tour in the galleries.

Students had more time to work on their projects and the museum educator had more time to thoughtfully conclude the program. The teachers and parent chaperones were thrilled that the students got to look at, talk about, and create works of art all in half a day. One student exclaimed at the end of the session, “This is the best day ever!”

By Ai Wee Seow

A painting in blue, green, and black

Student work entitled The Cricket in the Sea. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

A painting by a student

Student work entitled Quiet and Loud. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

A student painting

Student work entitled Let it All Out. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow