Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Compassion Project Part 3

Whew! Part 3 of this elaborate project but totally worth all the effort. As promised, I'd like to explain how I introduced my little artist to the four charities our district decided to donate to with this "Art of Compassion" art show. I didn't want my students to just receive the facts as I stood in front of them rattling off all the information about different programs, yada yada. I wanted them to understand what it would be like to actually need the services of these charities; Harbor House, Arc of the Fox Cities, Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley and NAMI. Since this project was all about COMPASSION, understanding people in need of these services allowed my students to truly understand from another perspective. 

HARBOR HOUSE: Hopefully you are all aware of the great work The Harbor House does for women who are victims of domestic abuse. To help my student learn and understand the service of The Harbor House, I lead them through a true story of dating violence. Cards were handed out to the students with different parts of the story and as we read through each card as the story escalated, the students lead a discussion about warning signs. It seems simple but the students responded so well and really respected the experience they received. 

Here are a couple of the mixed media (drawings on top of painting) projects my 8th grade Studio and Explorations students made as their response to the idea of compassion:

ARC OF THE FOX CITIES: This awesome program works with family and individuals with special needs. I chose to focus on Autism because of the autistic community we have in the district. Students watched the video "Carly's Cafe" where they experienced the world through the eye of an individual with autism. The students followed up with a discussion about what it would be like to live in a world of overstimulation and difficult communication.  

EMERGENCY SHELTER OF THE FOX CITIES: This is our local emergency shelter that helps families and individuals who are homeless and hungry. They offer lots of great programs to help people get back on their feet. To understand what it would be like to use these services, students worked through a poverty simulation. I chose one that related more towards the modern conveniences students would relate to(instead of bills and adultish stuff), but unfortunately the simulation is no longer available. Again, students followed up with an in depth discussion.  

NAMI: This great program works with families and individuals who suffer from mental illness. NAMI also has a program for middle and high school students who struggle with depression. To understand the need for this kind of service, my students went through a simulation in which they experienced what it would be like to have schizophrenia. If you've never done a simulation like this I encourage you try it. It's both incredibly eye opening and scary. My students followed up with a discussion about how they felt during the simulation. This simulation impacted my students the most, I feel. 

Well there we go! Three different projects all dealing with the same topic. COMPASSION. It was such a wonderful, unique experience that I got to share with my students. My students really dug deep on their imagery and they all created beautiful, thought-provoking works of art. Hope you enjoyed as much as we did! 

If your school has participated in the Compassion Project, please let me know. My district is always looking for new ideas :)

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