I teach some of the most interesting people on the earth and I want to know their story. As a high school art teacher, I teach art to mostly 9th grade students. My students come from lower middle to low income homes. Special needs students and ESL (English as a second language) students are inclusive with traditional students. Our high school has made a name for itself as having challenging classes. I believe that art can target self discovery and skills that students are not able to tap into in core subjects. I am a firm believer that the art process is a human experience that anyone can benefit from. I often find that students are reluctant for fear of not creating something that is "perfect". My students have not been exposed to art museums or artists. In art class they are introduced to new concepts and vocabulary that many automatically assume is beyond them. I encourage my students to personalize their art work by focusing on things of interest to them. They have difficulty expressing themselves initially because they do not feel they have the skills to get the story across. One thing all of my students can relate to is photography. Students have shown interest in photography and ask why we don't offer a class in photography. The simple answer is that we don't have the equipment to teach such a class. However, with a digital camera, I could teach students basic composition while building up their artistic confidence. We could use the school computer lab to download the photos. There are many possibilities of projects that could grow from students learning composition from the camera. The next step would be for students to use their photos to create collages. Students could also use their own photos for reference in paintings in drawings. Photography is a great way to teach sequencing for students who have difficulty writing, which would be perfect for special needs students and helpful for ESL students. Students can also use the camera to record their progress over time in the form of a portfolio. I would love for my students to have the opportunity to take a CD of their work home to show family and friends at the end of the year.
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This classroom project was brought to life by The Barksdale Reading Institute and one other donor.