Leadership and Self Development received this report from this spring about the project of Arlene Stein taking place in Florida. The following is her first-hand account.
My project is about children being able to use their creativity to make their learning fun. I have targeted the teachers of elementary children who have difficulty in school with language, reading and writing. The children will be able to achieve self-confidence and success in school and in their community by creating hands-on activities.
On April 8, 2008 I taught an ESOL 2nd grade class at Riverland Elementary. This is an inner city school. The class is made up of children who are new to this area and speak very little English. The project was geared to the reading program. The story they were reading was â€œCool Aliâ€. I had them draw with pastel chalk as did the character in the story. They became the main character, drew about themselves being in the story and had to describe it. Mrs. Davis, the classroom teacher then successfully taught her team (other 2nd grade teachers) the project.
I taught a kindergarten class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary on April 10, 2008. This is also an inner city school. The project was to create self-expression and self-awareness. They drew self-portraits and wrote four short sentences about themselves. The kids were so excited about the project and very expressive about their feelings.
On April 22, 2008, I went back to the ESOL class at Riverland Elementary and taught an art project correlating with a science lesson. The children were learning about the lives of penguins. The children were very receptive and amazing.
Again, Mrs, Davis taught her team the lesson and had great results with other classes. She expanded the lesson with the children using their writing skills on the computer .
On May 1, 2008 I returned to Riverland Elementary to teach a couple of other 2nd grade classes. They were together in one classroom. This was a writing lesson tying in with Mothers Day cards. I did the art portion of the lesson and the teachers were to have the children write poems to put on the inside.
Second grade teachers, Ms. Lewallen and Mrs. Davis are going to take on some of my project for next year. They will work with me to get other teachers involved to have their students use creativity in their learning and make learning fun.
There is a workshop for classroom teachers and staff in place for August at both schools. The teachers and staff at Riverland Elementary have just voted to have the Art program return for the 2008-2009 school year. Good things are happening.