1. How did you and your teaching partner decide to do this project? (Please describe the context of your project, this can include influence from previous projects, context of your school, community, etc.):
The original proposal was written with a different artist who moved away unexpectedly. Once we were matched up, we took some ideas from the original proposal and combined them with the ideas generated through our initial conversations to come up with our own unique project. We wanted to create a project that incorporated social issues that were genuinely important to students, political history, best photography practices, and digital tools.
2. Big Idea:
Social justice, personal histories and perception
How can personal histories and art combine to make a political statement?
4. Grade Level:
5. Academic Subject(s):
Social Studies, Civics
6. Artistic Discipline(s):
Photography, digital enhancement
7. How many years have you worked together as partners?:
This is our first year working together.
8. Please describe your project:
Students use photography and text to explore social justice issues that have a personal meaning to them. By examining the various roles photographers play, students are challenged to create photographs that suggest solutions to social justice issues.
9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?:
We hoped that the way students looked at and interpreted photography would become more analytical and enriched. Also, for students to learn about ways to take photographs to make them more powerful based on how the image it shot. Most importantly, we wanted students to discover ways they could tell a story about social issues using photography to do help them do this in a symbolic rather than literal way.
10. What surprised you during this project?:
I was surprised at how engaged the students were when shown photographs by professional artists. They seemed to really enjoy deconstructing and discussing the meaning behind the photographs. I think this helped them later on to be able to provide constructive feedback to one another about their own photographs.
11. What worked in this project and why?:
Students enjoyed experimenting with the various photographic techniques they were introduced to during this class. Perhaps the students found this part of the project interesting because photographs play such an important part of their lives – whether they are using them for Snapchat, Instagram or other social media.
12. What didn’t work and why?:
Students created powerful abstract images while they were experimenting with their photographs but when we asked them to explore a theme related to a social issue students found this challenging. Their photographs became cliche and not as abstract or nuanced. Perhaps our prompt was too broad and we needed to be more specific. Next time maybe the students need to see more examples of how contemporary artists tackle these challenges.
13. What was your approach to assessment for this project?:
We assessed students through one on one critiques, group discussions and peer to peer critiques.
14. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?:
Unfortunately, we were unable to share our learning process with others. We had initially discussed creating an Instagram account or an installation at the school. However, our collaboration ended before we could implement any of these ideas.
15. Did sharing your students’ learning occur according to your plan for social engagement in your proposal? Why or why not?
Although we weren’t able to engage the Hamilton school community with our collaboration we did, however, spend a considerable amount of time discussing how we could engage with the audience at the Convergence exhibition. Students brainstormed multiple ways to display their photographs, including creating an installation. However, for the final exhibition the students decided that they would select relevant news articles and display these along with their final social issue photographs. We also included photographs that showed the process of our collaboration.
16. How are you as teachers, artists and students social engagers through this work?:
Throughout the collaboration we discussed the role the viewer plays in looking at photographs. So as students developed compositions for their photographs they were very focused on creating a dialogue with the public. For the Convergence exhibition students included news articles that related to their chosen social justice issue.
17. Did sharing your project with others influence how you will approach future projects?:
Based on the positive experiences I’ve had with other collaborations, in the future we will definitely try and share our project and learning with the school community.
18. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):
Participation and Deliberation: Applying Civic Virtues and Democratic Principles
SS.CV.3.6-8.LC; MdC; MC: Compare the means by which individuals and groups change societies, promote the common good, and protect rights.
SS.CV.4.6-8.LC: Explain the connection between interests and perspectives civic virtues, and democratic principles when addressing issues in government and society.
SS.CV.4.6-8.MdC: Analyze the ideas and principles contained in the founding documents of the United States and other countries, and explain how they influence the social and political system.
SS.CV.4.6-8.MC: Critique deliberative processes used by a wide variety of groups in various settings.
SS.CV.5.6-8.LC; MdC; MC : Apply civic virtues and democratic principles in school and community settings.