by The Class of 2018 and Thad Falkner, Head of School
Wilson’s academic program is designed with the end in mind, so that our graduates are prepared for their future. We scaffold learning objectives and activities, and students apply higher order thinking skills to units of study. With attention on integrated learning, it is important for our students to make connections and apply learning outside of an isolated subject area. Using a theme with essential questions is one integrated learning strategy. The theme of 5th grade is identity. Their essential questions in exploring this concept are:
As part of our study of identity, the 5th grade embarked on a PhotoVoice Project. It is a long-held belief that people develop a sense of who they are based on where they are from - culturally, geographically, and historically. Painters, poets, architects, and others help us to consider new perspectives on ourselves. They help us develop a sense of ourselves and who and where we come from.
In our PhotoVoice Project, we looked at the people or physical spaces that influenced our lives: the people who define us, or the places we spend most of our time. Using photos and written words, we worked to develop a clearer understanding of who we are.
We started this project by looking at two photographs, “Still Life 15” and “Still Life 55,” by Jill Evans Petzall. We discussed what thoughts, emotions, and conversations Ms. Petzall might have wanted us to have about these two photographs. Then, we designed our own photo collage that represented our families or our neighborhoods. Ms. Signor talked to the class about composition because the students needed three to five photos in their collage, and one of them had to be a new photo. We wrote a story about the photos we chose by examining what thoughts, emotions, and conversations we wanted people who viewed our photo collage to have. With Mrs. Panneri’s help, we used Canva to design our photo collage. As part of this project, we saw the “Still Life With Stories” exhibit by Jill Evans Petzall at the Sheldon Art Gallery. Ms. Petzall met us at the gallery, and she discussed her work.
The PhotoVoice Project was a powerful learning experience where students reflected on, and gained appreciation for, one of the many components which has shaped their identity.
The activity helped students build their voice, reflect with intent, and appreciate others. Our PhotoVoice Project is a very good example of the deliberate learning experiences which have incredibly valuable outcomes and that lead to the overall Portrait of a Wilson Graduate.
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