Earlier this month, I attended an ITL (Integrated Teaching & Learning) conference in Holland.  Most of the other teachers there have participated in a series of ITL workshops, whereas this one I attended was the last in a series.  It was the culminating event where teachers showcased their students' work.  I first learned about ITL form our school's art teacher who had attended their last workshop.  She came back from that workshop with information about "The Great Lakes Project: Celebrative Tall Sails."  For this project, Michigan teachers were encouraged to teach a unit somehow connected to the theme of the Great Lakes.  They were given kits including the following for students to create projects: 12' white tall sails, sharpies of various colors, and drawing paper.  Our art teacher came back to school with several of these kits and encouraged the staff to brainstorm ways to incorporate the sails into their classes.  I love projects and integrating visual art into my English and Social Studies classes, so I welcomed the challenge.  I pondered what to do for weeks, which class to bring the project into, how the Great Lakes or sailing would have any relevance in my classes, etc.  It wasn't until I was wrapping up my AP English unit on "Reaching the Horizon" that it hit me.  We'd spent the whole unit talking about the metaphor of "the horizon" and all of a sudden "sailing" didn't seem like such a stretch.  For my "Celebrative Tall Sails" project, I had students explore the work of literature that most spoke to them, that said something real and compelling and powerful about the human condition, that really spoke to "what blows the sails" of human purpose and progress.  And so we embarked on a 4-week journey with our favorite piece of Canonical literature.  And it culminated with the Black River Art Show on Friday, February 17th where I proudly displayed their sails and artist statements.  

 


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    About Me

    A lover of literature and the arts and an advocate for global awareness and active citizenship, I spend my days with high school English and Social Studies students exploring why it all matters and how they can have a voice in the world.  This is my space to document and reflect on my practice, note happenings in education, and share my appreciation for the arts.

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