Mini Grant: Photography/Book Making Project & Charles R. Smith, Jr. Visit

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Report from grant recipient, Paula Long, Teacher-Librarian, BJM Elementary School

The month spent with students taking photographs and creating individual pages to go into class books excited and empowered students to new modes of expression and helped them be thoughtful and astute participants in the author, Charles R. Smith, Jr.’s visit. In addition to the technical skills students gained, and the opportunity to express ideas and aesthetics, the experience of participating in workshop with professionals who are not their regular teachers gave students a sense of respect and a real ownership in their work and product.

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Since this photo project I have noticed more and more teachers undertaking projects which include students integrating photography and video into presentations. Our photo book project has given both teachers and students the technical and artistic boost to confidently engage students in this sort of hands-on, multi-media education. The two new cameras, memory sticks and memory card readers have made the logistics of these projects that much easier.

In addition to the cameras, the materials portion of the grant allowed us to purchase the materials to create beautiful books for each child to take home (and copies for use in the library, counseling room, and the Principal’s office) to read and reread and share with families and friends and relive the project. Students take such pride in their work and I have received so much positive feedback from students, families, and teachers. I hope to continue many similar smaller-scale projects on an ongoing basis.

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