My first visit to C.C.A Baldi Middle School

Tuesday was my first visit to the classroom of Pat Elder at C.C.A Baldi Middle School in North Philadelphia. Here are a few shots of some of the student work hung around the classroom and various supplies available to the students.

This week Ms. Elder began class with a writing exercise, asking students to spend ten minutes writing anything about themselves. She had a few prompt questions listed on the board to get students started. “Just begin writing the first thing that comes to mind,” Ms. Elder instructed the class and then listed a few quick examples. As students begin to write, she continued to help the students along, offering other suggestions of aspects of their personality they might write about about.

Nathaniel Carroll wrote that he is caring, kind, smart, funny and loves the Beatles.

Sonia Chaudhary wants to be doctor. She wrote about how active she is and some of her favorite foods; she is a BIG fan of stir fry, apples and vegetables.

“Music is my life,” writes Nicholas Dolo. He also wrote that he is independent and very social.

Pedro Palmer shares that he is shy, “ha, just playing!” He’s talkative, has alot of friends and that he smells good.

Then Ms. Elder asked the class, “What is a self-portrait?” Students quickly answer that a self portrait can be a drawing or a painting, or that a self-portrait captures your personality and is a description of different things about you.  They continued to discuss self-portraits, talking about facial expressions, palette, body language, and clothing. Students were then asked to look at a few different self-portrait photographs and write a character sketch about them asking the students, “what do you see in the photograph?” At the end of class a few students shared their character sketches with the rest of the students.

Dibin Ipe told me that he saw someone’s grandmother. When asked why he thought the woman was a grandmother, he replied, “the woman looks older and she is wearing a dress that woman wear when they are sitting around the house and watching television.”

This was a great first week at Baldi and I can’t wait for my next visit to see what the students are working on!


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