We service a high-poverty community just outside the District of Columbia. Nearly 40% of our students have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our school is a strategic learning community where creativity, collaboration, and problem solving produces a standard of excellence without excuse!
Autism Disorders include 'a spectrum' of symptoms, skills and levels of disabilities as defined by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Our students display different levels of ABILITIES. Many of my students are very skilled in science and mathematics. My challenge is finding strategies to help them engage with the content and take ownership of their learning.
I have so many ideas on how to engage students in learning through photo journalism, I am going to do my best to give concrete examples of my two biggest 'wish fors'.
First, imagine teaching Environmental Science by having the students create the textbook!
Students will be able to photograph insects, birds, trees, and even our garden and then arrange the images into a dictionary of sorts, or a resource by writing definitions and captions to support their photographs! The students would receive cross curricular learning in Language Arts/Writing and Science! Engagement, learning, and ownership...oh my!
Additionally, this Canon camera would benefit the entire school's social emotional health as it is used to capture images for our second annual yearbook! Last year I co-lead the inaugural Yearbook production with one other teacher. The burden of capturing our elementary moments fell on her because she had the only suitable camera. If this project were fully funded, not only could I help document our students successes for the yearbook, but also instill a love of photo journalism in our students. Our students that struggle with expressing themselves would have a whole new outlet.
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