First Visit to Grover Washington’s 8th Grade Reading/Language Arts Class

We are working with two classrooms at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School and Tuesday afternoon I was in the classroom of 8th grade teacher Celeste Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez asked me to work with a small group of students on a few different exercises. I began by reading the poem “I Have Dreamed of You so Much” by Robert Desnos. Students were asked to listen to the words of the poem and try to pick out words and emotions. After reading the poems a few times to make sure they heard everything, I asked the students to share what stood out to them. After a brief discussion I then read  the poem a final time, asking the students to pick out specific images they saw as they listened to the words.

We discussed the specific images that were evoked by the words  of the poem and talked about how the students might take that image and recreate it in a photograph. One phrase of the poem read “over the sundial of your life.” Taking this phrase, we talked about “what is a sundial,” and “how is it used in the poem?” Students also pointed out the use of the word “phantom” and we talked  about how a someone might show a phantom in a photograph, leading to another discussion of “what is a phantom” and “how has pop culture used phantoms as characters?”

Students then looked at few photographs handed out during the previous class and discussed the photographers point of view and how they might look if the photographer were to take the photograph from a different position.

The class ended with a brief writing assignment. Students were asked to write a paragraph about one of their dreams, share their dream with the class and think about how they might take a photograph of this dream.

I took a group shot of some of the students in Ms. Rodriguez’s class. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the students at my next visit!

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