Melodee Strong Shadowing at Simpson Housing - 2 hours

Jenny Kraft’s 5th-grade classroom at Whittier International Elementary School - 2 hours

On Thursday I had my last scheduled day with Simpson Housing. DJ and I arrived early and were able to prepare the space for painting, as well as prep the student’s snacks. Melodee showed the students techniques to use with acrylic paints and stencils in order to create paintings with the theme of playtime. I was initially fearful for the inevitable mess, but everyone managed to keep the paint in the palette. Melody fostered a sense of pride in the students, and they clearly cared about their work and it not becoming spoilt by a messy workspace.

On Friday I did my lesson at Whittier Elementary School! It was incredibly exhausting to be so apprehensive for so long, and I’m glad to have actually gotten through it. Preparing the contents and materials of the lesson was a smoother experience than my experience in the Teaching Artist theory and methods course. I tend to micromanage group projects, so being on my own was a nice change of pace. In the future, I think that the experience would be improved if I was able to take a step back from my work and allow more feedback and assistance from my teachers and mentors.

Though I still have much to unpack regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson, I feel confident saying that it was successful. The students were very focused and interested in the content and produced some really wonderful script. It will take me a while to piece it together, and some sections will need to be completed by my own hand. The class waits enthusiastically for the final product, and I hope they have a chance to discuss the lesson among as a class. My brief overview of the impact handwriting has on the importance of words seemed to have been enjoyable, as students let out audible gasps when I explained that the tool used to write the Declaration of Independence and the tool used to draw comic books. All that really matters is that the students had a unique and enjoyable experience.