Self expression & celebrating each other's stories with students

June 18, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

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"What are your hobbies, interests, passions, fears, & hopes?"

"What do you love about yourself?" 

"What is a part of your story others may not know?"

"What do others say you are great at?"

"What do you hope to add to the world?"

These are just a few of the self-reflective questions the 5th graders were asked to answer as a part of a recent Self Portrait Project.  In partnership with a local elementary school we focused on  lessons on visual storytelling and strong elements in image creation. We learned about consent and responsibility in the visual imagery we create (these are such important lessons in this digital imagery world).  Then in partnership with their teachers we guide them through the process of brainstorming, creative writing, and deciding how they want to share their story through a self portrait. 

Over the next few weeks we captured their images together using professional gear, tripod, remote, etc which is a huge highlight for the students. Next they learn basic editing skills to enhance their story and they write captions. 

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Seeing the students celebrate each others ideas and creativity is my favorite part of this project. They helped each other hone their ideas and joined in on their classmate's images when needed.

The final results was shared during the end of the year awards assembly with parents and community members. Each student took their framed image home to remember this moment in their lives.  We also presented a collage of all the images to the principal to be displayed in the school as their legacy of the class of 2019 now that these students are moving on to Jr High.  

Seeing their unique ideas come to life is a joy to watch! Here are some of their self portraits & captions from the last 2 years of this Self Portrait Project:

I am proud to be Syrian- American. 

The Earth with Art is just "eh"

Believers for Life: Unicorns are real. 

Even though we are different colors and have different cultures and religions, we are FRIENDS.

Beauty isn't always what's on the outside. it's your talents and what matters most to YOU. 

I love football so much that I want to be a football star like Odel Backem if I can be like him I can be like the best football player ever.

When I dance, I want everyone to know that dance is part of who I am. 

Music makes me who I am. 

Without music life would be a mistake. 

In Art, beauty isn't what you see in the mirror or in the artwork, it's what you se IN the person behind it. 

I have always wanted to fly, and throughout my injury I have always been able to do it.

Reading is amazing. It can take you anywhere.

Sometimes life can be messy; you just have to smile through it.

My dog Max, is my best friend & he helps me through tough times. 

Baseball is my passion & gives me confidence. 

Art is what makes me, me. 

Queen of Jazz.

 I can be who i want to be- this girl is on FIRE. 

Brain puzzles give me my power. 

Mrs. Walsh got me into math and now I really like it. 

This is what I was born to do. 

Friends are there for life, but sisters and there for eternity.  

My camera helps me become more creative. 

Joy, competitiveness, and energy. These are things I feel wen I play basketball. 

Cooking is what completes me. 
Nothing better than kickball wit my friends at recess. 

My country is part of who I am & want to be.   My dream comes when I am on the field. 

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These kids are so creative and I love telling them so. It s a privilege and an honor to help them realize their vision. 

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Although I am a visual storyteller these days my training and most of my career was spent teaching middle school and I loved getting the opportunity to be back in the classroom with young people investing in them and celebrating their ideas.  Teaching visual storytelling, self expression, appreciation for others stories matters in our world and I am grateful or the community support and encouragement of this project! 

If you are weary of the current state of the world- spend time with young people- they are full of energy, ideas, and hope.  I love seeing them be excited for each other's stories. One of the greatest skills in life is learning to truly be FOR and celebrate others and a goal of this project is to create an environment of encouragement and mutual appreciation. 

Reach out!! 



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