Welcome to the Arts Creative Collaboration Site:

Hello, my name is Tracey Gilpin. I am married with three children. I have a dual certification: BA of Liberal Arts /Art Certification K-12 and a Masters of Education degree K-6. Currently I am teaching middle school art as well as two separate classes of life skill students (primary/middle school). In my classroom, I provide a caring & supportive learning environment in which students challenge and motivate each other to become proficient, honorable citizens and productive life-long learners. Prexie Pride is always shown through the eyes of youthful artists in all projects created in the artroom. Washington Park Artists are expected to always have fun and to never say I can't... to simply create and enjoy the experience of working with many materials & apply his/her knowledge to real world experiences! I hope you find this site to be helpful, informative, & enjoyable!



Responses for surveys:
Survey Arts Ed

PSSA rap :

Prexie Proud Artists, Middle School Art: Powerpoint displays

Orange Team: Arts Creative Collaboration

Our Wondering:
“How do we better engage students of diverse backgrounds and learning styles?”

By The Orange Team

Toward Increased Student Achievement in the Arts: Teacher Collaboration and Documentation
Submitted to the Arts Educator 2.0 Committee in fulfillment of the requirements for three college credits toward professional development I. U. 1 - California, Pennsylvania



I wish to express my sincerest appreciation to Cory Wilkerson, facilitator, for her patience and guidance in the development of this collaboration and documentation process. Special thanks are also expressed toward all members of the orange team as well as the arts educator committee members.


In 1990, I (Tracey L. Gilpin) earned the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Art from California University, and certified in Art Education through Carlow College of Pittsburgh. In 1995, I earned a Masters degree in Elementary Education.

Arts Educator 2.0: Collaborative Inquiry Groups

Required Elements
  • Pre-project Survey / Test (online)
  • Draft of GPDP completed by CIG
  • Regular communication w / facilitator about GPDP (by phone, e-mail, Skype, wiki discussion, face to face, etc.)
  • CIG group meeting 1 with facilitator (w/documentation)
  • CIG group meeting 2 with facilitator (w/documentation)
  • Implementation of GPDP (evidence collected with tech.)
  • Project and / or reflection upon PPDP, submitted to mentor and project co-directors (posted to our wiki)
  • Post-project Survey / Test (online)
  • I.U. 1 Course Evaluation and Survey

Our Wondering:

Reaching and enriching the lives of a diverse population to enable them to become independent learners through technology, art therapy, special needs, and classroom management strategies.

  1. Using technology for differentiated instruction
  2. How to engage a student with ADHD morphed into “how will special needs strategies help to better engage students?”
  3. Will better engagement at the start of rehearsal promote a better overall rehearsal this one has morphed to “how will classroom management techniques help to better engage students?”
  4. How to teach students to become independent learners and workers
  5. How does classroom engagement impact student engagement
  6. How can I use art therapy concepts to engage students of diverse backgrounds & learning styles

GPRA measures adopted by the orange team to focus documentation:
  • % of teachers who receive professional development that is sustained and intensive (required – document time and quality)
  • % of teachers who demonstrate the ability to teach standards-based arts education (document practice)

How can I use art therapy concepts to engage students of diverse backgrounds & learning styles?
What information sources will you need?
On line resources - other arts teachers - Camille/Mercyhurst
This wondering is designed to engage students of diverse backgrounds & learning styles by incorporating concepts of art therapy that are woven throughout each lesson.

What data will you collect?

Documentation will include written inquiries by students, verbal responses, completed works of art, & photos.

Washington Park Middle School Art: Mrs. Gilpin

How can I use art therapy concepts to engage students of diverse backgrounds & learning styles?

Description of Strategies Implemented

· Focus on the process of creating & not the product
· Connecting with the inner artist; allowing the students feelings & thoughts guide their work
· Setting criteria with student directed freedoms
· Modifying projects for individual strengths and interest
· Referring to art as fine arts incorporating music
· Students critiquing & scoring their own work
· Daily computer availability
· Spontaneous Art Experiments

Reflection of Successes & Challenges

Implementing art therapy concepts in the classroom to engage students of diverse backgrounds and learning styles proved to be rewarding not only for the students but also for myself as a professional. As I researched further into my line of inquiry, I found that encouraging the students to connect with their inner artist & to focus on the process of creating was less frustrating for students when working on projects and seemed to instill a sense of self-confidence in their work. Students began to experiment more, thinking outside the box. For example, twenty-four out of 46 students that completed the Arts Survey prefer creating artwork that expresses their thoughts & feelings as opposed to creating artwork based on a set of specific criteria. Twenty out of 46 students agreed that creating works of art worked as an outlet when dealing with feelings / emotions of a young teen. When viewing the results of the Arts Survey, I also noticed that when given the opportunity to respond to the inquiry: Does your art enable you to understand your academics better, 37 out of 46 students responded with positive feedback. After sharing the strategies implemented into the middle school art program, the principal provided verbal feedback, commenting how impressed he was that troubled students wanted to come to the art room during pride time and as a reward for proper behavior / completed work for a core subject.

Overall, the results of the group wondering: Reaching and enriching the lives of a diverse population to enable them to become independent learners through technology, art therapy, special needs, and classroom management strategies along with my strand of inquiry: How can I use art therapy concepts to engage students of diverse backgrounds & learning styles proved to be a work in progress that will be on-going with professional growth, technology, & student enrichments developed further in the next school year. I know that many students were successful based on the strategies implemented due to face-to-face conferences & the summary of responses given on the student survey.

Challenges faced while researching & implementing the strategies in the classroom that were woven into the group wondering consisted primarily of technology frustrations. While I felt comfortable using the technology given, our school computer sites were somewhat limited. I would work endless hours at home creating files & updating my wiki to find that when I got to school blank pages would show and I was unable to view the documentation. I e-mailed the tech person in charge & submitted my reasons why it was important to use photo bucket, flicker, etc… I love using technology in the classroom. The students realize that art is more that paper, markers, paint, sculpture, etc… With the use of the Q-3 I am able to open the student’s creativity through audio recordings, local museum tours (bringing the field trip to the students), student video performances pertaining to the arts / cross curriculum, etc…

Limitations to the line of inquiry consisted of the following:
· Student attendance
· Changes in the schedule: effecting meeting times with students
· Students sent to ISS prior to art class
· Students that receive services that are pulled from class

· Q3: Student Art History, audio format
· Q3: Student PSSA Rap, video format
· Q3: Museum walking tour
· Vado: Artwork samples
· Google Docs: Student Survey / Graph & Display of Results
· Digital camera: Still shots of student artwork / Displays

Written Comments from Professionals:
Mr. Konkle, Social Worker
Mrs. Patty Robertson, School Psychologist

When I think of what art should be, the two words that jump out at me are creativity and expression. However, there is an element in art that is just as important as both of those descriptive words. This element is the therapeutic component of art, which has allowed many individuals to enjoy participating in art, even when they may not be the most creative or expressive person. Art to an individual is whatever the individual needs it to be. This is what I have viewed in the classroom of Tracy Gilpin.

Through my conversations with Tracy, I have noticed how she is incorporating her views and concepts into her classroom. Her classroom appears to be more than an opportunity for a student to get a measurable grade; it is a place where the student can create or meditate (not think about other issues at home or at school they may be experiencing). The classroom is filled with a positive, nonjudgmental attitude. Tracy tries to be open with the students, in order to allow their defenses to be minimized, which she can have more opportunities to work with the actual person instead of the mask that many of her students wear. She is motivated in motivating her students, and she has been able to find motivation within a student that chooses to do very little in other courses.

There have been a couple of students that have benefited from Tracy's concepts in her classroom. One student was lacking motivation in many of his courses, but yet he had a love for shoes. Tracy said he was very motivated to get on a computer and create different styles of shoes. She knew this was motivating to him, and she was able to bring him in a pair of shoes for him to create his own pair. Another student lacked self-confidence and she was able to lift his thoughts about himself. His work was accepted in an art show, his name was placed on a flyer throughout the school for his accomplishment, and his father hung the art work at home. This was very satisfying to the individual, which is exactly what that student needed when other things in his life might not have been going in the right direction.

Bill Konkle, Social Worker

To whom it may concern:

I spoke with Tracey Gilpin in March 2010 regarding her desire to help children from diverse backgrounds in a positive manner. She expressed an interest in relating to students through and with art to assist them in realizing, expressing, and processing their life experiences and learning. We discussed how the field of School Psychology could add to her knowledge of educating and supporting children. Mrs. Gilpin appears as an individual who is eager to learn and assimilate more ways to pursue helping children in a variety of venues to reach their potential and well being.


Patty Robertson
IU School Psychologist

Washington School District K-12