If you are interested in having Living Histories at your school or community site,
please email us for more information!
Elementary (and middle school) sites this school year will be engaged in two semester long thematic topics:
‘Clean Water’ will be the topic for the first semester; students will be examining the issue of clean water as it pertains to communities around the world. They’ll be engaged in art projects connected to those communities and their traditions, while also using ‘water’ as an inspiration in their work. Tapestries, bark painting, photography, and self portraiture are just some of the many projects they’ll engage in as part of this project. The semester will cumulate with a student initiated and led service project designed to help a community of youth elsewhere get access to clean drinking water, done via a partnership with a global
non-profit organization. Older elementary students will also be documenting and reporting on this process.
For the second semester, students will be looking at sustainable living practices around the world, as well as social entrepreneur models. A big focus will be on creating community gardens and using them as a model to teach ecology, business skills, nutrition, and community building, as well as using them as the inspiration for accompanying art projects. The focus on this semester is to get students to think about using their creativity for the larger social good, and helping them find means by which to do so, while still developing specific artistic and writing skills along the way.
When access to computers are available, students of all ages will engage in video and photo editing, animation, graphic design and blogging in conjunction with these projects.
Middle School Sites
Our middle school sites will be following the same thematic concept as our elementary sites, but will offer students a chance to take a much more hands on approach to the service learning projects and a more technical approach to their art and writing projects. Our middle school sites blend the conceptual ideas of our elementary sites with the technology used at our high schools; a middle school site, for example, might engage in a photojournalism project connected to a community need and create a service project around that idea. For our middle school sites, we strike a balance between providing the structure and consistency that middle schoolers need with the sense of autonomy and social component they want, which in turns keep enrollment levels high.
We plan on hosting a community wide exhibit of student work at the end of each semester.
Our high school classes will include:
A class that looks at photography as a means of documentation and self expression. The class is taught in a ‘collegiate style’, with students studying the work of other photographers and exploring concepts relating to identity and community, while also growing and learning as photographers; learning photo techniques and theories and building their own personal portfolio, which could later be used for college admission purposes. Students will shoot and critique their work weekly, and also keep a journal as part of the class. As a final project at the end of each semester, students will have a show of their work and will create a blog. Students will use Living Histories’ digital cameras, and if possible, school provided computers for editing.
School requirements: any ‘style’ of classroom
Useful school options: use of computers with Photoshop or other photography editing software and internet connection
This class incorporates photography with journalism and creative writing; students tell stories of their lives and of their community through photography and writing that they feature on a website (as a group or personal) that they create. Emphasis is placed on using photography as a means to tell a story, and to think about both photography and writing as a means of recording the individual stories that encompass our larger community. Students will use LIving Histories’ digital cameras and school provided computers, and in addition to creating a website, will also have a ‘group show’ and create a ‘literary magazine’ as final projects.
School requirements: any ‘style’ of classroom; use of a computer lab or several laptop computers with photo editing software and internet access
This is an art class designed to inspire creativity and creative thinking, and to help students work through creative ‘blocks’ so that they can lead fuller lives. This is a very hands on, studio focused art class that allows students to gain access to a wide variety of new techniques and mediums while also refining their fine art skills, and working to help them conceptually develop creative and critical thinking skills. Students will create actual ‘artist books’ of their work, incorporating collage, image transfers, drawing, painting, photography, and creative writing all together for the purpose of personal expression. Students interested in pursuing an art focused college program would also be able to use their books as part of a portfolio.
School requirements: ideally, use of an art classroom that will allow students to paint and use other art techniques that might be too messy for a regular classroom
Students will learn the basics of design theory and fundamental graphic design, learning Photoshop and InDesign, creating logos for companies they will create (both theoretical and real community initiatives), posters, business cards, brochures, etc. Emphasis will be on design skills, and then on identifying places in the community that could benefit from such design skills/putting skills to ‘real world’ use.
School Requirements: access to computers with adequate design software
A class designed to help students identify community issues they want to address and the skills and techniques needed to do so. Students will collectively decide on issues within their community that they want to address and will then learn skills need to do so: communication, organizing, recruiting volunteers, addressing local political leaders, marketing, fundraising and financial management and advocacy. The class is designed to allow students to learn fundamental business and marketing skills in the context of leading an initiative for their local community (or, optionally, by working on a larger ‘global’ issue if they so choose) to create positive change.
School Requirements: a ‘regular’ classroom and access to several computers with internet access.
In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of documentary video: technical skills around shooting and editing, and larger ‘conceptual’ skills around storytelling and the nature of documentaries. Students will create several pieces using Living Histories’ provided digital video cameras: video blogs for the website they will create, short pieces about people and institutions in their community, and a ‘Public Service Announcement’ meant to address a community issue they determine to be of importance to them as a group.
School Requirements: a ‘regular’ classroom and ideally access to computers with video editing software such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro.