East Boston High School
When imaging how to spark my students interest in civic engagement, a current lesson idea comes to mind. My students have been asked to participate in painting electrical boxes in East Boston. The boxes they will paint will reflect their culture and historical issues pertaining to the Eagle Hill neighborhood. They will be submitting designs for approval by the City of Boston. Students will draw on the rich history of East Boston for inspiration. This includes the history of immigration on the Golden Staircase which is our Ellis Island. In addition, the history of ship building and Donald McKay’s Flying Cloud will be considered. This will create pride in our community as well as celebrate the artistic abilities of our students. Students will brainstorm what they consider most important to celebrate or bring awareness to in their community. It can be in the form of celebrating East Boston or bringing awareness to social concerns such as immigration. When visiting the East Boston Library, my students had a deep discussion about Donald McKay’s Flying Cloud by the librarian, Susan Brauner. They viewed WPA paintings housed by the Boston Public Library. Students could choose to design an electrical box that celebrates the voyage of the Flying Cloud and Donald McKay. In addition, students could design a box around immigration that reflects the ethnic history of East Boston. Students will have to complete their designs as apart of their assignments and grades. They can have freedom in their design, but I will provide them with feedback towards what might be considered an acceptable or unacceptable design. We will hold critiques and determine which designs are stronger to submit. The City of Boston will have the final say in what art is allowed to be exhibited on the electrical boxes.
King K-8 School
There have been many lessons that have had an impact in our school and or community. Last year I collaborated with the 4th grade teachers working on the project Cap Stone, organized by BPS, the students wrote letter to city and state representatives and this resulted with visits of three city representatives from different districts to the king to meet with the students who wrote the letters and Q/A regarding issues of interest to the students, a visit to the state house to meet the governor and city hall to meet the mayor. The students each created a hanger poster portrait of the government figures with data about all of their political achievements as well education and future aspirations. This culminated with a field trip to the Bolling Building, where the students prepared to share their facts and also showcased their work, had some of the city representatives at the event, and were introduced and congratulated by Boston Superintendent. This all occurred through the power of writing, an idea, follow up, research and good all artistic ability and perseverance..
Condon K-8 School
One of my favorite projects to do with the students in my classes is Origami Cranes. I can use the ancient art form and connect it to current curriculum for 3rd grade, but I can also connect it to Japanese traditions, as well as historical significance. I can use this form to make public art- a 1000 crane display or leaving cranes in a public area for others to "find" with a message of peace, and perhaps even connecting the cranes to memorials, commemorative events, historic preservation, or heritage tourism. It could act as a spark for students reading Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes. As a follow-up activity, I have made a connection at the Pearl Harbor museum in Hawaii, who has invited me to send extra cranes where they are sold at the gift shop for a small donation to the museum.
Kenny Elementary School
During Black History Month in Art, I will be reading my 3rd-5th graders two books concerning the civic issue of equality. One book is called Henry's Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine and the other is titled Separate Is Never Equal, by Duncan Tonatiuh. After we read these stories we will discuss equality and segregation and how it still affects us today even though these two stories take place in the past. As stated in the civic engagement article, an issue needs to be identified before starting a civic engagement project. The connected issue of the two stories at the current time would be the President's thoughts on immigration reform and building a wall and how that could or has already affected people. Another issue would be how how different races or genders are treated differently. The civic engagement article also states, there should be research on who is involved in the issue. I will have the students research if there are any artists creating art or speaking on equality and immigration reform. After finding examples of artists and activists on these issues and getting inspired, I will have students choose one of several words to make an acrostic poem describing how they feel about this issue. The words SEGREGATION, EQUALITY, PREJUDICE, RACISM, FREEDOM and DIVERSITY. After completing the poem, students will have to create an inspiring illustration to go with their poems. One of the final steps that can be made, (as stated in the article) would be to create an arts based engagement experience. I think an amazing way to take this project to a more meaningful level next year, would not just be to share their pieces around the school on a bulletin board, but to have them read and show their pieces at the MLK Day Arts Performance at the Strand! Students could read their poems and their illustrations could be projected on a screen behind them. Our band performs on this day every year and it would be amazing to include visual art as well!
First, I do an Art with a Message project with my 7th and 8th grade students, which includes mini lessons on 6 different social concerns or topics, and then requires each student select a topic on which to focus. Students then conduct internet research (and a great deal of image research) on their topics of choice, and go through a planning/drafting/production process to create visual art that speaks to the social concern they have chosen. When I have taught this lesson in the past, the issues have ranged from gender equity and LGBTQ rights; bullying; depression and mental health; global warming/climate change; immigration; and more. Students have a lot of freedom in determining the composition and materials used for their work of art. Topics are not limited to the ones presented in mini-lessons---students may choose other topics, so long as they conduct the appropriate research on the topic and on art pertaining to it. I've found that providing students a high degree of agency in the topic and medium of their projects for this unit increases students' engagement with and ownership of their work. This differs from the article, as it allows students choice rather than focusing on one specific social concern or civic issue, but still includes a lot of the same elements. I could, in fact, utilize a variation on the design template, and have students complete/design their own projects as part of their individual planning processes.
Harvard-Kent Elementary School
Civic Engagement Through "The Future Me" 5th Grade Portrait Project. By Carla Marrero, Harvard Kent Elementary “The Future Me” is a fifth grade portrait project in which students create images of themselves in careers they aspire to be. The students consider how this career would bring the best out of themselves and the community they are a part of. It is quite engaging. It would also be very engaging amongst members of our community as well to consider the same. The “Arts and Civic Tool Kit” article references the considerations of art presentation, number of engagements, and desired outcomes that would make the future me project adaptable for members of the community, creating an opportunity for civic engagement. An art event, such as an art exhibition of future career self-portraits by students, could be the segue into a civic engagement opportunity (p.3). What we do as individuals impacts everyone around us. So what we do must bring out the best in ourselves first. Members can reflect on student portraits and then create rough sketches of their own portraits in career paths of their choice. A civic engagement project of this nature would involve more than one engagement (p.13). A number of five engagements at the school would be reasonable to provide opportunities for members of the community to complete their future self-portraits in the media of their choice. The desired outcome would be for community members to understand how a future, desired or current career would or does bring out the best in them while contributing that best to making their community a positive place to embrace (p.11). Part of civic engagement involves being empathetic. The future me fifth grade portrait project lens itself to that. Just as my students embrace the perspective of themselves as a police officer for example and the impact they would make, so could members of our community. We all have a role to play in social justice but it begins with ourselves as individuals first. References Arts and Civics Tool Kit (2008). Retrieved fromwww.americansforthearts.org/animatingdemocracy
Patrick Lyndon School
Utilizing VTS to Socially Bridge Across Ethnic and Racial Groups The issue I am addressing is Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Media. I am working with my 5th grades and 2/3, 4/5 SAR using VTS strategies I learned at the Gardner. The last lesson included a photo of a white family waiting for a train. There is a Black man in the photo and 2 out of 3 classes were totally focused on him and the terrible things he was going to do. I feel this reflects a real issue in my school, the community, and all students in BPS. I will be dressing this Civic Engagement project with my three VTS groups. I have communicated with the Gardner Museum Education Department, for recommendations. After reading several articles they sent me, I am creating a unit on Media and bias reflected in TV, movies, Video games and music. These are powerful images and messages that students replay over and over.I hope students will begin to be independent thinkers as we discuss these influences.I also know the 5th grade is currently doing units on the Civil Rights Movement, so we are working together. I am also working with the Lyndon Lead Teacher whose focus is Social and Emotional Growth and CLSP. CLSP particularly refers to in 1.3 " celebrating, valuing and affirming diverse identities of learners." I am also in contact with the Office of Equity. I have also reached out to the Videographer from the PD to ask him to possibly make a short film with the students. My goals are that a "social bridge will occur" within this targeted group through considering Arts in Media as an influence of Bias. I am also hoping to "socially bridge across ethnic and racial groups." I also hope the outcome will" bring greater respect among students" (and through them, their families and the community) who hold different beliefs or values." Finally, by examining these images, I hope students will become less passive members of society and learn to actively question Media as a source of "Truth" and therefore become better members of their community. Extension: I am now doing a Restorative Justice Circle about Stereotypes in Media with the Science Teacher. Also, I am asking students to take a picture of a stereotype in their games, social media, tv or advertising? Students will share these images with me and some will be shown in class where we will use VTS to examine them.
Another Course to College
ART and ELA CURRICULUM at ACC BE KIND is PROJECT BASED LITERACY and ART with a focus on SOCIAL ACTION
Overarching topics: empathy, identity, community, social action BE KIND supports students’ journey of self discovery as they learn how to connect to both the local and global community. Using a variety of multimedia sources, analytical reading & writing as well as visual arts, students will develop skills that are aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Common Core Standards. Our goal is to work through this journey as a community and foster compassion & empathy that propels us to choose action through peaceful means. Units are based on primary sources, literature, artworks and artistic styles from the period under study. What we hope to achieve using primary source documents in these lessons is to remove the distance that students feel from historical events and to connect them more intimately with the past. By doing the art and emulating the style of the historical period and artist students are able to participate in history in a unique way. Our goal is to recreate for students a sense of "being there," a sense of seeing history through the eyes of the very people who were making decisions. Reading novels helps bridge that gap. Students will develop historical empathy, to realize that history is not an impersonal process divorced from real people like themselves. At the same time, by analyzing primary sources, students will practice the skills of analyzing evidence, establish a valid interpretation and construct a coherent narrative in which all the relevant factors play a part. THE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT ART BASED PROJECT RATIONALE: Students will gain an understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and reach a deeper awareness of the role African American writers and artists played in the development of American art and culture. Based on the current climate surrounding immigration and Black Lives Matter, students are bombarded with news that feature marginalized people within their community. During the HR, millions of AA fled the south because of the terror and adversity they faced. Examining the lives of these “migrants”, students can make connections between the obstacle they face in their present lives and those faced by the men and women of the HR. Through collaborative heterogeneous groups, students will research and analyze the works of the HR. Exploring difficult topics through both texts and art will require students to go out of their comfort zones and have to work on various SEL skills. In studying the above artists and writers our focus was understanding how these individuals were able to overcome their obstacles and choose with deep conviction that they were going to pursue their talents and dreams. Cognitively Demanding Tasks: Readings by Harlem Renaissance writers/artists such as: Writers Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Esther Popel Artwork Aaron Douglass, Jacob Lawrence, Lois Mailou Jones, Romare Bearden, Augusta Savage Primary Sources and Life Experiences Immigration (Dr. Tommy Chang lesson) Edutopia Immigration and Facing History connections Students will research an author and an artist from the HR. They will analyze the works of both individuals and compare and contrast their styles. Students compared quotes from the writers and Webb’s DOK Level 4: Analyze multiple sources of evidence or multiple works by the same author, or across genres, time periods, themes COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS: HARLEM: SOUND and VIDEO of Andy Owens ACTIVIST (92 year old african american man from Harlem) gives tours about the Harlem Renaissance in HARLEM, NYC (through Harlem Cultural & Historic Society) SLIDESHOW of HARLEM TRIP to understand where people we are studying were living Clips/interviews from authors and artists in Harlem Renaissance found online Immigration Narratives SHOWCASE EVENT is the Harlem Renaissance Celebration. Student writing and reading, videos and artwork were on display. Artwork was created using both Aaron Douglas style artworks and the collage style work by Jacob Lawrence. Students work was on display in the “Savoy Ballroom”. Stop animation videos st
English High School
A lesson that we already do in my class is the self-portraiture project with a projector and a selfie picture. This is one of the first projects that we do in the year because it gets every student drawing, but allows them to trace from the projected picture of their selfie. It is a good way to help students gain confidence in their ability to make art while still pushing them to be creative in what they add to their piece and what medium they decide to use. This lesson could be transformed into a civic engagement opportunity by turning the subject to often overlooked students in our school community. The selfie project increases the confidence and visibility of students through the creation of a portrait. This lens can be directed at the students with severe disabilities, Team Exceptional and posted in the school. In this case, I believe the "civic issue or opportunity is the impetus for the project (pg. 4)". The knowledge that I have and reason I believe this is an important topic is due to the repeal of Obama Care last year which affected the funding for medical supplies for students with severe disabilities. This topic is of particular interest to me as the artist and educator because it directly affects students within my school community and classroom. These are important starting places when I ask myself "what is my relationship to this issue" as is suggested on page 6. Finally, we need to identify our desired outcomes from this civic engagement project. When looking at the list, I saw very clearly that what I desired from this project was to create "Social bridging across groups" and "People challenge unjust systems" (page 10). Through the project I wanted students to interact more with the students with severe disabilities to help them feel included in the school community. We would have an unveiling party of the portraits of the students with severe disabilities so the students could interact with one another. We would also increase visibility of these students within the school by posting their portraits and exhibiting. This would help the students from Team Exceptional feel welcomed in our community. Further, I wanted my students to connect this issue to the larger national issue of access to medical equipment for students with severe disabilities. This would take our local level civic engagement project and encourage students to think about larger policy issues on a national scale.
Winthrop Elementary School
A lesson I currently teach that could be transformed into a civic engagement opportunity is a first grade lesson on bullying based on the book, Bully and the Shrimp. In this lesson students listen to the story and explore the feelings and actions of each of the main characters. Discussions on what it is like to be bullied by someone as well as possible reasons someone might have for teasing a classmate are also explored in the form of turn and talks, teacher/ student loops and a variety of acting techniques. This lesson could be transformed into a civic engagement opportunity by teaming up with your school’s Family Engagement committee to host a bullying prevention night with families of students. This would be an event that informs families the dangers of bullying, identify the signs of someone who is being bullied and how to communicate with your child, teachers and other families around bullying. The first step in making this truly and civic engagement, is bringing in local community organizations who specialize in this issue. For this event, local education organizations who specialize in Bully Prevention and how to talk to families and students about this issue would be an appropriate type of organization to reach out to. During this family event, a local children’s theatre company will be invited to perform a play about bullying that can be used to start a dialogue between families and students. Finally, teenagers from a local high school could be invited to share personal experiences of bullying to the younger students and parents An evening of family engagement centered around bullying would be a great way to engage the school community with local agencies, professional theatre companies and older students from the community to present and discuss the seriousness of this issue.
Boston Latin Academy
We are facing a time of persistent struggle for those who are negatively impacted by inequality and social injustice. Our national sports teams have advertised the struggle by not standing for the Star-Spangled Banner, but instead kneeling to show their displeasure with the lack of support toward these issues. Most people forget the meaning behind a tradition and accept the notion that it is something you follow through with, even if the reason behind that tradition is no longer evident. The SSB holds an immense amount of history within it, and has a significance that can be linked to our current day struggles. To create a civic engagement project involving my bands, I find it important to revisit history and work toward having my bands fully understand the SSB’s relevance to the outrage that has recently swept the nation prior to all major sporting events. This project could be a way for students to make correlations between the SSB and what it meant to Americans in the 1800/1900 and how that message has either remained or changed to Americans during present time. With this project, I would aim to tie it to Social Justice/Equality and the Black Lives Matter movement. The culmination of the project would then be to perform the SSB at one of our school-related sporting events. The project would begin with my students learning to play the SSB on their instrument. During this time, I would tie in the history behind the melody of our anthem (British pub tune) and also introduce the lyrics to all 4 verses. The verses are descriptive enough where we would be able to start discussing the history behind the actual event in which the SSB was created (War of 1812), and how it became our national anthem. After learning of its development over the last 200 years, we then approach how the SSB relates to our current day events and what our country stands for. As a culmination of our learning, we would discuss why we find performing the SSB prior to all major sporting events as important and then having the opportunity to perform it ourselves at a live sporting event at our school.
Conley Elementary School
Freedom Songs Showcase After studying about the Civil Rights movement and other learning a variety of freedom songs, students requested the opportunity to create their own Freedom Songs. We decided to have a Freedom Songs Showcase. Students worked for about 2 months interpreting, arranging, and rehearsing freedom songs, and writing songs of their own. We performed our songs for a gathering of peers and teachers. After learning about the role of music in the Haitian Revolution, the Abolition Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement, we studied contemporary freedom songs, interpreting how musicians use music to communicate important social messages. I provided a list of possible songs, and also allowed students to submit their own. Following this activity, we looked at how visual art is used in social justice protest and students created their own posters advocating for social justice. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dgNczh0O55gIqG4vycg5wRfyoGKUocnB6KARxipC7aA
Alyssa San Pedro
A unit that I already do in my 6th grade singing class that I can transform into a civic engagement opportunity is the last unit of the year - "Contemporary Protest Songs." In this unit, students already sing, analyze, and discuss protest songs about contemporary issues (i.e. deportation, Standing Rock, clean water, etc.). I can easily transform this entire unit to reflect the three phases of planning an arts-based civic engagement project. In the "identify" phase, students will be asked to "consider the headlines," investigate songs that address the headlines, and think about how a concert of these songs might engage people in the issue(s) in the headlines. Together we will go through the worksheets to discover what we need to learn to move forward and difference we want to make with our performance. The information we collect will help us "define" what the project will be, who is involved, and our desired outcomes. In the final "design" phase, students will decide how art and engagement will be linked and how the art of our concert might foster engagement or dialogue. Next we will consider what settings will best support dialogue/engagement, how we will attract our audience, and who is best suited to facilitate the dialogue/engagement activities. Lastly, we will design an assessment of our impact that corresponds to our previously stated outcomes. This is a lot to do in one quarter, so I might expand this idea into a semester or year long activity with one or more of the middle school grades next year!
Winthrop Elementary School
The civic engagement tool provides prompts and guidance for creating powerful opportunities for discourse and action using the 3 steps of 1) imagine, 2) define, and 3) design. In an arts classroom, we are ideally positioned to cultivate these experiences for our students and communities. Around this time of year, I routinely introduce my 4th grade students to the gradual desegregation of televised performances, leading with the 1968 duet "On the Path of Glory" by Harry Belafonte and Petula Clark. Students ultimately evaluate the performance for musical features, examine the historical context of the song, and engage in dialogue about the impact of the mixed race performance on the audience. Accomplishing these objectives allows students to touch on the initial step (imagine) of civic engagement. In order to have students engage more deeply, I have a responsibility to ensure they can personally connect with the objectives and perspectives posited by shaping activities and tasks that allow space for discourse and reflection. By clearly defining the positions of others, students can develop their own opinions and present them to their peers in a differentiated, accessible format. Finally, students can participate in a larger project that contrasts our contemporary experience of race in media with the early developments of integration by evaluating performances and experiences of modern artists. Most importantly, these more complex tasks and projects allow students to powerfully link the arts and engagement by evaluating the ways in which art mobilizes civic action, and can continue to do so. In reaching these conclusions, students are exposed to the possibilities of using the arts to affect change in not only their local community, but the larger, ever-shifting community that is our nation. By providing the scaffolding for civic engagement in grades K-5, we allow students to engage with issues of justice in a controlled, safe environment, while empowering them to evaluate and challenge social or civic concerns in a way that supports and encourages their active engagement in the welfare of the community.
Chittick Elementary School
Last year, we collaborated on a project about Malala. I received the biography from the BPS Arts Dept. at a PD session and I immediately shared it with my specialist team. The story was read in grades 2-5, then students had open discussions and brainstormed ideas to begin writing their own song. This coincided with the 5th grade ELA lesson, where students read the more advanced version of Malala's biography and wrote essays about her personality. In addition, the other two arts teachers in my team had students creating their own artwork to describe what they learned and how they felt about this incredible young heroine. Ultimately, students were able to perform their piece at the August Leadership Institute in front of the mayor, the superintendent, fellow educators and principals while displaying their artwork.