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Reflecting Through The Eyes of Students

It’s been an unusual school year, so along with that comes an unusual final exam. For the first time in my teaching career, there is no special schedule and no quiet classroom to monitor while my students pour their last effort of the year into the exam for my class.

So, this year, I strove to find authenticity for my student’s “Stay-at-home” exam. I asked them to reflect on how the class helped them to grow as a learner or as a person. 

My juniors, who had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Pages Program this year, did not disappoint. Their exams rolled in one-by-one and a common theme started to emerge.

If you’ve found this blog, you might be asking yourself: “What kind of impact does this program have on the students?” The students say it best themselves:

“I feel what had the biggest impact was completing the pages program. There were a few different activities we did in the pages program but they tied together and taught me three important things: how to express myself more freely, how to value others’ work, and how to make a change through the various types of art.”

“These field trips give the students a chance to connect the classroom lessons through real-life and doing hands-on and real-life experiences and tangible artifacts. They give us access to culture and history and art that they may feel left out on the regular curriculum; the sensory, physical, and social aspects of field trips enrich learning experiences.”

Students exploring Ann Hamilton’s when an object reaches for your hand installation

“I don’t really like being in a class and just sitting there and learning. When we left school, I got to move around and learn about a lot more things and see more of the world from a different view.” 

“I really liked the museum because it brought out who you were. It could explain a lot of other people’s stories or their backgrounds and how they would look in the future.” 

Students immersed by Jenny Holzer’s Inflammatory Essays

“I loved that one project where we had to cut magazines out and put them on a poster [with April Sunami}. I really loved that one because I could pick a statement or a picture that really hit or made me feel some type of way.”

Students collaborated to create collages inspired by the film Anthropocene. Activity directed by artist in residence, April Sunami

“Going to all of the field trips I got to experience art with my peers to see the world in a different lens. It gave me ideas and taught me how I can expand my ways of writing as well. It made me want to write more of what I loved to do. It made me picture scenes and scenarios in my head, things I knew I was capable of.”

“The art gallery, film, and musical performance taught me that you can’t do anything by yourself because there is only so much you can do. Teamwork helps a lot.”

“When the guests came and did projects with us I loved it the most. Getting up and moving around helped get my morning started.”

Students writing in their Pages journals after participating in a movement workshop led by artist in residence, Michele Sipes

“Going to the art museum was important to me because I enjoyed seeing all the art and it will be a day I will never forget because it was a good memory and if I could go back I would.” 

“One of the biggest things for me this year was the field trip we had at the Wexner Center and watched the film. This is mostly because it opened my eyes to how much pollution there is around the world. Also hearing other people’s reactions made me think even deeper and do more research which many things don’t make me do in school.”

Students observing Maya Lin’s How Does a River Overflow Its Banks?

“I really liked was when [Scott Woods] came to our classroom and taught us how to make poetry. He taught us how to make poetry out of topics that we would’ve never thought to make poetry out of. He allowed us to make room for poetry in our lives.”

I hope that these excerpts from my student’s final exams made you smile. As their teacher, it reinforces for me just how important it is to be involved in this program.

-Sarah Patterson, Franklin Heights High School

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