Recently, a colleague nominated me for our local ABC Channel 5’s One Classroom at a Time Education Grant for $1,000. You can view the video of the SURPRISE all-school assembly my school had for me here! (Warning: I cry like a baby!) I was completely blown away and so grateful for the support I received from everyone! My immediate thought when I was awarded the grant was not to buy supplies for the art room, but to give my students a learning experience that would impact their lives for years to come. I believe that a collaborative mosaic would be an excellent and authentic example of such an experience.
The school I teach in is a very new school and a very large school at that, with an enrollment of over 800 students in 28 sections. Believe it or not, I see all of them for 45 minutes once a week. For the last three years, we have been working hard to define who we are and to build a strong community of educators, support staff, parents and students. I believe this collaborative work will allow students and teachers a venue to express our identity, voice our aspirations and build school pride.
One of the reasons I chose a mosaic mural is simply due to my previous experience with mosaic artist, Concetta Morales, while I was in Junior High. This encounter impacts my life to this day; I remember collaborating with peers to plan a design that reflected our school culture; working with others to create an image greater than what we could on our own; leaving behind a remnant of who we were. That mosaic mural still hangs in the hall as you enter the Junior High; a collection of individual tiles held together by glue and grout, and a metaphor for the community created within school walls.
I hope I can provide a creative experience like that in my own art room; in fact, I am hoping to get the very same artist I worked with over 16 years ago to work with my students!