My first visit to Grover Washington

This morning I made my first visit to the classroom of Ms. Ericka Andrews and Mrs. Sheila General at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School in North Philadelphia. Sandra Andino, the Philadelphia-based photographer working with the classroom on the LTP project, was there for her first day to speak to the students.

Students began quietly looking at four images in their textbooks and writing 3rd person, short stories about what they imagined was happening in the photographs. A small group of students were asked to share their writing with the class giving other  students the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

Following this brief exercise, Sandra gave a short introduction and began talking to the kids about “WHY” and “WHAT” we photograph. As the conversation progressed, I noticed more and more students’ hands were raised each time Sandra asked a question.  Almost every student wanted to share a memory or idea about why people take photographs, what photographs can represent, and how they effect our lives.

Special occasions, family, self-portraits and friends were constant themes of what we photograph. Why we photograph prompted answers of, “to remember important places, moments or people in our lives,” and “to show or learn about family history, about who we are, or why we look the way we do.”

Their homework for next week: bring in one or more photographs from home that are important to you to share and write about with the class. These kids are so enthusiastic about this project, I can’t wait to see and hear what they come up with!

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