A Backpack Journalist

Linda Dennis, Program Manager

What’s your story? Come take a successful journey to self-expression and help the student to find their “voice”.  A Backpack Journalist combines writing and photography in an enriched, project based curriculum that supports academic and expands a student’s real-world experiences and brings together other disciplines and subjects.

3rd – 8th Grade: ELA and Technology: The Art of Storytelling: Great Journalist put the reader there!  First the student journalist must find their “Voice” and in doing so, their creative writing results in life-changing stories! We combine a Photography Icebreaking Experience (PIE) with basics in interviewing, team building and public speaking.  Next, the writer emerges, and also the portrait photographer, as each student learns all about taking the portrait.  Writing assignments include “My new friend”, “Defining Moments”, to “Special Thank-you’s, and “fiction”.  Outcome:  a full color book with all portraits and writing assignments published with each portrait.

3rd – 8th Grade: ELA and Drama: Norman Rockwell’s Storytelling:  Rockwell is one of America’s greatest storytellers.  Unknown to many is that, he in order to tell a story, Rockwell often established a set designed with props and people.  He then would photograph it. And, also would add an illustration before the painting began.  Rockwell also created the “first selfie” using a mirror and again props and illustrations. Each student will create a “selfie”, design a set, photograph the set and then write!  All of the “selfies” are then published in a full color book with the written descriptions.

3rd – 8th Grade: ELA, History and Art: Norman Rockwell’s Historical and Career Connections Storytelling: Rockwell’s work often depicted the American way of life, and in doing so, he also wove into his paintings the story.   Our thematic units include Language Arts, History and Social Studies and we include the teacher resource materials available from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Each student will create their own Saturday Evening Post cover and research the historical elements to support their cover. Each student researches, writes and then gets published with their cover in a full color book. Some examples of Rockwell works to be on display include: Saying Grace, Triple Self Portrait, The Runaway, The Golden Rule, The Four Freedoms (Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear), Outward Bound, Going and Coming, The Gossips, The Shiner, Girl at the Mirror, The Marriage License, and New Kids in the Neighborhood.

3rd – 8th Grade: ELA and Science: Cover the Assignment module:  Do you have a special event you wish your students to participate in as reporters or photographers?  Also, enrich student learning about a particular subject or thematic unit?  The study of fossils is a great example.  Students experience hands on by investigating slate from the hills of Colorado, and then visiting via films the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Florissant Colorado.  All research and findings are published in a full color book.

4th Grade:  History, Technology and ELA: African American Civil Rights Movement: Students study the life of Larry Doby, the second African American player in the major leagues, first in the American League, when he joined the Cleveland Indians. His stats are a math and physics project.  The research on his life and the documentary that we provide encourage the students to write and create multiple projects such as chronological timelines, a Doby diary as it relates to the Civil Rights movement, newspapers and other types of sports articles of the times.  Also, music within the documentary is from the era, and speaks to lyrics that rhyme.  Thus, creating lyrics is also one of the suggested projects.

SC Visual Arts Standards Addressed During this Residency:

VA3-5.1 Identify purposes for the creation of works of visual art.

VA4-3.1 Identify and describe the content in a work of visual art.

VA5-2.3 Select elements and principles of design to create artworks with a personal meaning.

VA6-1.3 Select and apply the most effective materials, techniques, and processes to communicate his or her experiences and ideas through artworks.

VA7-2.4 Describe, both orally and in writing, the ways that his or her use of organizational principles and expressive features evoke the ideas he or she intended to convey in a work of visual art.

VA8-5.1 Compare various purposes for the creation of works of visual art.