Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

756 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642

Participating Staff:

  • Joel Javier
  • Jerry Stefl

Teacher Fellowship Program

Intuit’s Teacher Fellowship Program is an award-winning professional development program for Chicago Public Schools K-12 teachers in all subjects. The program reaches about 600 students across Chicago annually. Twenty teachers from ten Chicago Public Schools are selected to participate in the program. Using self-taught and outsider art as a catalyst for learning, teachers design innovative curriculum for their students.

During the 2013/14 Teacher Fellowship Program, teachers participated in a series of lesson planning training sessions in the fall and winter, followed by project implementation in the classroom in spring 2014, with support from Intuit staff members. The program culminated with a public exhibition of students’ work, celebrating the participants’ work.

Key learning objectives

  • Integrate outsider/self-taught art, hands-on art making, and museum visits into cross-curricular student learning.
  • Join a community of educators with a passion for outsider/self-taught art in support of arts integration into class curricula.
  • Learn innovative teaching ideas and methodologies for integrating the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts into curricula.
  • Collaborate with colleagues on cross-curricular projects based on outsider art and its related subjects, ranging from social and cultural to historical and philosophical inquiries.

CCSS connections

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text/work of art says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual/visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text/work of art.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

How the program addresses the standards:

An overview and presentation of Common Core State Standards-English Language Arts is provided in the first training seminar held at Intuit. Since Teacher Fellowship Program teachers come from various grade levels, we designed a simplified CCSS-ELA lesson plan rubric that can be shared by all of our educators. Common Core language and questioning strategies are utilized for initial presentations and during gallery visits to familiarize teachers with CCSS-ELA. As part of their initial work, teachers complete short lesson sketches in the galleries that incorporate CCSS-ELA and provide a foundation for their final lesson plans.

What we learned

As a result of participation in American Art at the Core of Learning (AACL), Intuit has identified at least 6 major American outsider artists in our collection whose work and biographies lend themselves to particular themes explored by the AACL learning community. Biographies of Henry Darger, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Howard Finster, Joseph Yoakum, Eugene von Bruenchenhein, and Martin Ramirez were re-written to better align with grade level standards. Additionally, the lesson we developed through AACL will function as both an introduction to American outsider artists in our collection and a template for teachers’ lesson plans.

Instructors for the 2013/14 Teacher Fellowship Program adjusted the final student evaluation rubrics so that they align with CCSS-ELA. Furthermore, they created a student self-assessment tool. This has successfully measured students’ ability to articulate their relationship to their own work and the outsider artist(s) that has inspired them.

Quotes from participants

  • “This experience is personally rewarding for me. It offers sheltered time to think, experience, and create as an arts educator.  Every interaction and experience is taken back to the children I live and work with.” – Ms. Gunderson (Nettelhorst Elementary)
  • “Where to begin! I really enjoyed listening to the gallery curators and learning about the lives of each artist. The stories behind the artists make the art more fascinating…I teach outsider art all the time and see my students as visionaries.” – Ms. Carlock (Mary Lyon Elementary)
  • “Today was my first day of participation in the Intuit TFP.  I enjoyed meeting and working with this inspiring group of educators from around the city. Additionally, the access to and discussions about the artwork on display at Intuit is a valuable resource that I will use for developing lessons for years to come. We had some group work at the end of the session based on lesson plans inspired by artwork on display here. I got a number of great lesson ideas that I think would appeal to my students this year. Can’t wait to try them out!” – Ms. Cornell (Lincoln Park High School)