Day 1-Students and Principal Cliff Colia get creative!

I began my adventure working with Carbondale Middle School classes yesterday. WOW! Inspired chaos rules. I am telling you the paint was literally flying everywhere. I don’t know who had a better time, me or the kids.

Teachers Amy Shubitz and Danny Stone brought their classes together to learn the art of visual journalizing. As I wrote last week, this was in response to seeing the movie Freedom Writers. Amy wrote a grant to have a visiting artist come to her class, as the kids were so inspired by the movie they wanted to learn to journal.

When the classes came together, I asked them what it was that they related to in the movie. We wrote their feelings on the board as they shouted them out. Some of the comments were a bit of adolescent posturing, but others were truly from the heart. The middle school is over 50% Latino now and so there is a huge emphasis on learning about one another’s cultures. In 1994 when I created the Quilt of Cultural Understanding, that was the idea behind the photo quilt.

Here is the beginning of the list from 3 classes. We will be taking these and creating some collages, stories and poems from them.

STORIES, gangsters, crime, fear
differences COMING TOGETHER,

unexpected  friendships, they were alike,
JOURNALS, creativity, life problems,

family, feelings, COURAGE, culture,

SUFFERING, fighting, drama, FREEDOM


To be continued…Our gratitude to the Carbondale Council on Art and Humanities for Sponsoring this project.