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|Project Title: ||Artists Act Against Homelessness|
|School Year: ||2004|
|School - District:||Excel High School - Boston|
|Contact Name:||Robert Lamothe, Yvonne Troxell & Joan Syms|
|Contact Email:||firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com|
|Content-Area(s):||Arts, English Language Arts, History & Social Sciences|
|Grades:||9, 10, 11, 12|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Three high school visual arts and instructional technology classes (Excel High, Odyssey High, and Boston Community Leadership Academy) vowed to do something about homelessness. Collaborating on ways to understand this issue, the students researched and discussed its history. The young artists identified higher education and community partnerships that provided opportunities to use their art and media skills. These opportunities included contributing to a homeless children's party, organizing a conference on homelessness, and working at an after school program for homeless children – all of which allowed the students to explore causes and solutions. Determined that their messages would be seen and heard, students produces and exhibited a website, videos, and graphic arts to confirm that artists can successfully act against homelessness.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
Students identified the growing numbers of homeless children as a significant community need they could address. The students resolved to collaborate and address the national and local crisis of homeless children.
|Service Component: |
During art classes, students created murals and jewelry for the “Christmas in the City" party targeted for homeless children. The students also arranged weekly visits to an after school program for homeless children, which included publishing an original play and books with these children, and donating a student-made quilt to the shelter. Finally, the students arranged and attended a conference on homelessness at UMass Boston and documented the project through a website, art exhibit, and video. These high school students demonstrated how artists can successfully act against homelessness.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Visual arts, writing, and media standards were the project’s major focus, although the students also depended on an interdisciplinary framework as they researched the history and causes of homelessness.
The following Boston Public Schools Learning Standards were derived from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Learning Standards, and were addressed through the project:
• Connect visual art making to other curriculum areas.
• Select appropriate materials to express ideas.
• Understand and apply the elements of art and design.
• Use self-assessment as a learning tool.
• Show craftsmanship and responsibility to one's work.
• Cooperate and collaborate during group projects.
English Language Arts:
• Actively listen, respond to, and build on ideas generated during group discussions.
• Use information to inform or change their perspectives.
• Summarize and evaluate what they have learned from discussion.
• Conduct interviews for research projects and writing.
• Identify visual or aural techniques used in a media message for a particular audience.
• Create media presentations that effectively use graphics, images, and/or sound to present a distinct point of view on a topic.
• Apply established criteria for assessing effectiveness of presentation, style, and content of films and other forms of electronic communication.
• Be familiar with the historical key people, places, events, documents, movements, and other details.
• Order events and construct timelines.
• Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect, and the relations between events.
• Compare and contrast ideas, rituals, customs, and concerns.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students identified the enormous need for addressing homelessness; and in particular addressing the affects of homelessness on their peers and younger children. Students worked with higher education partners to spread the word through a variety of mediums selected by the students.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students participated in frequent “Free Writes” where they reflected on ongoing classroom and service activities. As part of their grade for the third term, students used these ongoing impressions to write persuasive essays on “Issues of Homelessness.”
|Community Partners Involved: |
Students worked with Massachusetts College of Art students for the “Christmas in the City” party. They also visited an art exhibit at this college and interacted with the exhibiters. In addition, students organized an all-day conference on homelessness at UMass Boston where they presented along with representatives from that university, a homeless shelter, the Boston City Council, and performing artists.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
School wide art exhibits located at the South Boston Educational Complex illustrated the breadth of the student work and provided a culminating event where students encouraged the entire school community to join in celebrating their several achievements.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
The project’s impact could be evaluated through a student-created survey tailored to each of the activities that students participated in (holiday party, after school program, conference) to gather information on the impact of their services on homeless children and staff working with homeless children.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
A challenge is to continue to provide support for visits to homeless shelters and college campuses; these are important components for projects like this to continue.
Student commitment was there as illustrated by one teacher’s reflection:
“We have learned so much as educators and artists about our own students and the way learning happens. This project will be ongoing because there are always more questions and new ways to look for answers. After a screening of our students' video, one student turned to us and said, 'I have more work to do.'"
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.