The Orchards - Mary Blair Elementary School 4th Grade
Art Discipline: Photography
With any new opportunity, it is hard to know what to expect or what to hope for. When we began working on this project with 4th graders, I wanted it to be about perspective - seeing common everyday things through a new perspective. I wanted it to change the way they think, the way they process what they read, and the way they write.
The students spent some time with Mr. Campagna learning how to look at common sights differently by changing the angle, focusing on a small part instead of the whole picture, looking at those not so obvious or common things, but looking at the story behind the little things, and learning that people’s stories actually add to the story of a picture. They also learned some interviewing skills that would help them to tell the story of their photography project. Then they went out and interacted with the people in our community and took pictures along the way. They took pictures that would capture the meaning of their journey.
This area is home to most of our students so the surroundings are familiar, however even as adults we don’t often think about the many different sides of a store clerk, or a salon stylist, or baker. On this adventure, our students came to understand that each of these people were once an elementary school student, that many of them are parents or grandparents of an elementary school student and that they have many of the same needs and desires and dreams that the students do.
So while this project broadened the students’ perspective, it was also about relationships and connections. When they had to go in to a store with the expectation of talking to people, not just to buy something, they began to see a much bigger picture than they had before. While they were very excited to have a camera and not just a pencil to gather information, they realized that even a photo didn’t tell the whole story. To me that is the real meaning of education. When you learn something new and that learning just makes you want to find out more, the learning never stops.