Saturday, May 8, 2010

Young Photographers and Authors

During the last four weeks of literature connection class, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students at St. Therese Catholic School started their own Fibonacci accordion book project. Mrs. Tartleton and I took classes outside on the school grounds on Wednesday with five digital cameras. In April, Sarah Campbell, Lynn Tarleton, and I field tested the project involving book-making, photography, and poetry with third graders at the school (photo below). Sarah and I developed the arts integrated project as an extension of her new book, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature, to meet a variety of objectives in math, science, language arts, and visual arts.
Only 5 weeks after the third graders took their photos, the school yard looked very different. Wednesday was unseasonably warm at 90 degrees and sunny. The leaves on the trees were large and thick unlike the just budding leaves of April. More varieties of wildflowers dotted the landscape while many of the blooming shrubs had already lost their spring colors.

The grass around the ditch which separates the playground from a meadow area was lush and varied with pink bindweed, wild garlic, and elephant ear-like plants. One boy spotted tadpoles in the ditch! Sycamore balls decorated the ground near the back of the church. The third grade class had exchanged their pansies for marigolds in their garden box, and they had hung pine-cone bird feeders from the tree outside their classroom. Several classes had flower pots of seed-growing projects lined-up outside their classroom doors.

The young photographers captured it all! They were enthusiastic, eager, and engaged-- dispositions which are sometimes hard to encourage during the last weeks of school. This is the perfect project with which to end the school year, and I hope that it will provide some good background experience and knowledge for both students and teachers to create a seasonal field guide, using this model, to our school yard during 2010-2011. It is so rewarding to share my growing interests in photography and environmental concerns with students who are excited to try out something new along with me.

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mrs. misenar said...

cool. :)

Sarah Campbell said...

More great pictures. I'm so glad you decided to keep going with this project.

Jen said...

The more I read about this project, the more I wonder how we might incorporate some of it into our chapel classes next year. We'll be using a curriculum that teaches virtues, and I'm wondering about having the children write poetry, consider what pictures of "love," "honesty," and "kindness" could look like, and create lessons that they could use to teach the concepts to younger children. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Julie Nolte Owen said...

Jen, I think your idea sounds very interesting. It will help the students take ownership for their own learning! Plus, it will be fun.