“Planting Seeds for the Future” is an entrepreneurial/garden project based at Border Star Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Working with students in grades 4-6 “Planting Seeds” weaves together themes of financial literacy, small business development, creative writing, and critical thinking all centered on the student run and maintained urban garden. Upper Elementary students will have the opportunity to create their own businesses, with unique marketing, logos and sales ideas generated by the students’ research and production in raised garden beds. Students will maintain journals, create visual art and creative writing projects, conduct research, explore issues of health and wellness, organic gardening, sustainability as well as social and environmental issues centered on food. Planting Seeds seeks to implement steps designed to engage students in positive creative actions, analytical and critical thinking aimed at ending poverty and creating socially & environmentally conscious citizens. Planting Seeds for the Future is made possible by a generous grant from the United Services Community Action Agency and is sponsored through the University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity, Access & Equity.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Journal

While there are so many aspects of the Planting Seeds for the Future program that deeply appeal to me, perhaps the strongest is the journal. I first realized the importance and usefulness of a sketchbook/journal while working as a pastry chef. Each day, the sketchbook was used to record visual designs, recipes and observations that still serve me more than a decade later. Today, as a visual artist a sketch book/journal is a frequent companion and a powerful tool in capturing fleeting images, developing and refining ideas and producing finished pieces. As I began developing the Planting Seeds for the Future program with its strong emphasis on critical thinking and writing, I knew that the journal had to be at the heart of the learning experience.

But not just any journal.

While I am sure that some will argue with my logic, I immediately decided against the traditional ruled/lined journal deciding instead that students would be more open to personal expression with the blank pages of an artist’s sketchbook. I also wanted a sketchbook that students could personalize and really make their own. It seemed simple enough – an artist sketchbook with a plain cover, no manufacturer’s logos, with recycled, good quality paper. My ideal journal does exist, and with an unlimited budget could have been used for this program. However, with a realistic budget some sacrifices needed to be made and I finally decided on a beautiful new Strathmore “Visual Journal” that fit our needs nicely. With a plain cover and heavy duty mixed-media paper it is nearly the perfect journal for our students.

A full day was given to the personalization/decoration of the student’s journals. With the shopping genius of Donna Strickland of UMKC’s Division of Diversity, Access and Equity, the students were supplied with a staggering array of items to truly make their journals personal and meaningful, and to take ownership and pride in their sketchbooks. The students bring these books to each class, using them to record facts, thoughts, business ideas, personal observations and drawings. It is truly rewarding to see students writing freely, drawing abundantly and developing skills that will transcend the program.

Thank you to Donna Strickland for your hard work and attention to detail and thank you to Michelle at Creative-Coldsnow for your help in the search for the perfect journal and finding enough copies for our needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment