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Monday, May 14, 2012

Learning through arts

FMCSD CORE Programming
We have been having a blast with the grade six classrooms in the Catholic District. Since January, LTTA has provided six different artist educators to work with 17 different classrooms.

In February, Jane Mennigke joined with Cheryl Hickey's sixth grade class at St. Gabriel's School. Jane was kind enough to lend some comments on her experience:

Our objective was to teach the Social Studies curriculum, dealing with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To start, the students were asked to choose a right or freedom from the Charter, and then to make a drawing and paper sculpture based on images that came to mind as a result of the Charter's text. The students were given two sheets of paper; one was used for drawing, and was finally cut and shaped into a paper sculpture which was pasted down onto two or three places on the base paper. This exercise gave students a way to think about their chosen right or freedom in a fairly personal way: through art. Once the sculptures were completed they were added together on the wall outside the classroom to create a mural.

The next class we viewed You-tube clips and newspaper cuttings of public protests. Cheryl read a story called "Dalmore Itch" and the students decided on ways to protest a about a polluted river to the fictional Mayor. The students made posters and placards, wrote letters and held radio and press conferences. Life was full of action. One of the super fun parts was doing the role plays before  the meetings with the mayor. Finally came the last lesson with the  presentation to the mayor- kindly acted by Cheryl's EA, and filmed by Shelley.

One of the crystallizing moments in the few days I spent at the school was to hear one student shyly and profoundly reflect, "I learnt that I didn't have to be a loud make my voice heard."  It was great working with a partner like Cheryl, and reminded me of how much more we can achieve through the partnerships than on our own.