Drawing from the Well

Teacher Preparation Checklist

The following is a recommended checklist for starting a Drawing from the Well program. You may wish to contact the developers of this work for a general orientation workshop. However, this curriculum design encourages you to forge ahead and bring your own good ideas, organizational skills and commitment to the classroom.

Checklist for setting up a Drawing from the Well program:

  • You will need a support system. Decide whether or not you will form a partnership with other teachers. Line up communication and support with your administration, parents, community members, your school librarian and library resources, computer lab and technical support. Consider trainings by local artists and specialists such as experts in computer software, publishing, video and audio production, cartooning, book arts, poetry, music and performance. Use your local community college and high school students and teachers as resources.
  • Determine the link between your content area and the project. Decide whether you will have your class choose the essential question/focus of study and the final project or if you will choose the focus. Then plan accordingly. (See Chapter One, Digging the Well, Lesson 2 - Essential Question)
  • Equipment and supplies: Depending upon the direction you choose, you will need either video or audio field production equipment. (See Recording Equipment Recommendations in Appendix/Resources) Beyond general classroom supplies, your students will need folders or binders for their portfolios.
  • Acquaint yourself with your resources: The Drawing from the Well curriculum guide, reference materials including literature, publications and websites. Identify partnerships with museums, libraries, and other schools. (See Appendix/ Resources)
  • Determine the expectations, requirements and assessment practices for the program. In each lesson the New Mexico Standards and Benchmarks are listed for Language Arts. You may also align the standards for other disciplines to ensure you are meeting state standards in your content area. We have designed rubrics as a means to determine student achievement. It is helpful to post the requirements and expectations for students so they clearly understand their responsibilities. The portfolio and student final projects will be indicators of their learning. Portfolio assessment is essential to the Drawing from the Well program. Students will build two portfolios: A working one and an exhibition portfolio. Use Chapter One, Digging the Well, Lesson 3 to gain complete instructions for portfolio assessment.
  • Transportation needs: Each year the requirements for scheduling field trips change. We recommend at least one class field trip to a museum. The most exciting and successful interview sessions are set up at the interviewees' homes. This can be arranged during the school day with administrative support, although coordinating interviews after school helps alleviate red tape. The alternative to conducting interviews in the community is to have the interviewee come to the school. This is workable, yet not as rich an experience as interviews within homes or places of work.
  • Permission forms: You will want parents to sign release forms for field trips and for use of students' images, voice and likeness. Additionally, you will want the interviewees to sign a release for the use of their recordings. (See Sample Release Forms in Appendix/Samples and Activities)
  • Planning and Scheduling - We recommend the "plan backwards" approach. If you know you are going to host a celebration at the end of your program, then set your dates and plan the phases of the project back to the beginning. (See Sample Timelines in Appendix/Samples and Activities).
  • Getting the word out: Inform your community about this project as you go along. We recommend you ask your students to draft a letter to parents that may also serve to notify the school board, the local press, local businesses and other potential participants.
  • Organization - Designate a space either in the classroom, locker or closet for student projects and portfolios. Document student work along the way. Assessment: Ongoing as well as cumulative; student-centered as well as studentdirected.