Arts Inquiry Seminar this Saturday

I’m gearing up today to present at the Arts Inquiry Seminar through The Philadelphia Writing Project this Saturday, May 19 at the Rosenbach Museum and Library.  Joining me will be Lorraine Ustaris, 9th grade English and AP English teacher at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, and 6 of her students. The fact that she managed to get 6 of her students to do this on a Saturday, in May nonetheless, is amazing! I’m dying to know what her trick is… so I can steal it to use on other people!

We will be discussing the LTP program in general as well as specifically how she introduced it into her classrooms. Her students will each present photographic and written works they created over the last semester and then open the floor for teachers to ask questions of all of us.  No worries, photographs and video will be taken to share!

The Arts Inquiry Seminar is an open continuity program through The Philadelphia Writing Project that provides a space for K-12 teachers in all disciplines to engage in an inquiry into how the arts can be infused into their classrooms and schools. This is an opportunity for teachers to collectively explore how their practice can be transformed through arts integration. Participants are awarded 1 continuing education credits upon successful completion of course requirements.


Barbara Kruger-inspired works from Russell Byers

Amy Jared, art teacher at Russell Byers Charter School (RBCS), stopped by today to deliver some of her student artwork for LTP. “They are a little low-tech,” Amy told me, but that what I love most about them! They are bold and immediate. The quick construction of the works fits the immediacy with which the students formulated their personal and powerful statements– “I am strong and caring,” “I can change the world,” “I can make a difference!” I have an urge to go rogue, plastering posters of them all over the city as reminders to other kids that who you are does matter and that you can make a difference in the world.

This was the first of four collaborative projects at RBCS using the LTP teaching tool in the classrooms of Amy Jared, technology coordinator John Landis and 4th grade teacher Allen Garner. Students were challenged to come up with a powerful statement about who they are. Using self-portrait photographs taken in class, the students cut and collaged their image with stamps and their powerful statement to create beautiful, Barbara Kruger-inspired works.

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2012 summer exhibition of LTP student work


Select photographs and writing by students participating in Learning Through Photography at Moore will be on view from July 23 – November 2, 2012 at City Hall and in twenty-one bus shelters along Market Street between 6th and City Hall in cooperation with Center City District (CCD). Details and an official announcement to come in the following weeks.

Now…if we could only decide on an exhibition title!

Update from the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush

This morning I received an email from Lorraine Ustaris, one of our participating teachers at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. Her email was full of links to her 9th grade students’ blog sites that they are currently developing for their Learning Through Photography at Moore project this year.

Lorraine’s students have completed Phase I of a 3-Phase series of writing and photography lessons focusing on Ekphrastic poetry — poetry that comments upon or is inspired by a work of art, such as a poem about a sculpture or a painting. Their work is both inspiring and beautiful so I wanted to share it with everyone as soon as I received Lorraine’s email!

Below are links to a few of the sites created by her students (just a sneak peek…we don’t want to give everything away before this summer’s city-wide exhibitions!) At the culmination of this academic year permanent links to all of her students’ blog sites will be available through our Learning Through Photography at Moore blog. Enjoy!



My visit to Ziegler Elementary School

This morning I had the opportunity to visit  William Ziegler Elementary School in the Northeast to see their LTP projects in progress.

Fifth grade students working with cooperative teachers Eileen Rudnick and Nicole Lionetti and Moore student teacher Maggie Stewart are creating Joseph Cornell-inspired shadow boxes filled with collaged images and writing, as well as found and formed objects with personal meaning. Today students began creating clay objects that they will paint during the next few weeks and then place on shelves in their shadow boxes.

Students were making everything from dinosaurs to flowers to airplanes, pots and pans and even creative forms based on their initials! I can’t wait until my next visit when they will be assembling their final works.

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Learning Through Photography at Moore on NBC10 Philadelphia

In case you missed it, a story about Learning Through Photography at Moore aired last night on NBC10 Philadelphia as part of their Education Nation series. Aditi Roy spent a few days at William Cramp Elementary School in Kensington talking with students, 5th grade teacher Jaime Rowlyk and Liz Gilly, Lead Coordinator of the LTP program at Moore about the project, now in its second year at the school.

Click on the image above for a link to the segment.