Lake View High School: Joanne Yonan & Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson, Grades 9-12


How can I use observation and critical analysis to explain my life under COVID by using a picture?

Words by Lake View High School Teacher, Joanne Yonan, and Teaching Artist, Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson.

To pick the place and guide how they make the picture, they responded to the following:

Choose a scene from your home that shows an emotional element of your life during COVID. For example, are you comforted and calmed in the kitchen? Do you worry about the future while in bed? Does stepping out onto the stoop of the house make you feel hopeful? Try to take the picture without “messing” with it – just document what it normally looks like. You can also include the name of a song and artist that you think communicates the mood of your picture and what it represents.

Explain the evidence you selected to be in your picture (name and describe what is in the picture, and any emotions associated with the scene, in 4-5 sentences):

Reflection: (Look at your picture explain how you think it exhibited what you were hoping others would see and what you felt was missing or could be improved)

Our project really began one month into the school closure. After an initial hiccup at the beginning of the unit, when we shifted our inquiry question to suit the interest of students, we had planned on a similar question of using critical observation for engaging in everyday environments.

There was an extreme lack of communication. Most students did not show up. Plus, there were multiple times that Gwyneth was scheduled to join, but due to misunderstandings/tech difficulty she wasn’t able to join.

We had wanted to have group conversations about the process, but since usually only one person showed up for the video meetings, we weren’t able to do it, except for the last class, with three of the students.

I learned that asking students to reflect on each other’s pictures of home conjured very authentic, empathic engagement. They paid close attention to each others’ realities, and they brought honed critical, and emotional, observation. I want to know if asking more questions about each other’s work can >be< the work.

–Joanne Yonan and Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson